A total of 2 000 fire fighters have been working tirelessly to put out the fires that have engulfed parts of the Cape Town, South Peninsula, for the past four days, the Department of Environmental Affairs said.
The fire fighters included 150 from the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Working on Fire (WoF) programme, 50 from Volunteer Wildfires Services and 250 WoF fire fighters from other provinces have joined the teams on the ground.
“To date, four helicopters, two water bombers, and one spotter plane have been up in the air since Sunday trying to contain the fire,” Department of Environmental Affairs spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said.
Nqayi said a total of 26 aircraft, which are based in Tulbagh, Porterville, Donkerhoek, Stellenbosch, Bredasdorp, Stilbaai, Newlands, Plettenbergbay and Knysna, had been deployed to fight the fires.
“At least 198 flying hours have been lodged by Working on Fire resulting in 2 000 water drops, equivalent to about 2 million litres of water. The flying hours cost is currently estimated at R2.4 million,” he said.
WoF is a multi-million-rand job creation Environmental Sector Programme under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), primarily geared towards assisting government to fulfil its job creation and social upliftment mandate to the people of South Africa.
WoF partnered with a number of organisations in areas where some of the fire fighters are based.
“The teams from Working on Fire became involved with the programme because they wanted to make a difference: bringing their skills to helping, educating and teaching their communities – we should be proud of them,” Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said. – SAnews.gov.za