Fire Breaks

The National Veld and Forest Fire Act requires, amongst other obligations, landowners and user’s to have adequate perimeter fire breaks.

If planned or prescribed burning is elected:

  • Burning should be done in moderate weather
  • Adequate fire fighting personnel and equipment must be available on stand by.
  • At least two weeks notice informing your neighbours of your intention to burn is required

A firebreak should:

  • Be wide and long enough to have a reasonable chance of stopping the veld fire by creating a safe place from which to control the spread.
  • Not cause soil erosion
  • Be reasonably free of inflammable material.

The Act also promotes the formation of Fire Protection Associations (FPA). Membership confers the benefit that if fire spreads from a members property there is not an automatic presumption of negligence, as is the case of non members.

A local FPA facilitates cooperation between neighbours on common fire management issues and sets minimum standards of fire protection specific to the area.

The Act requires a national system of fire danger rating to be established. Once in place, this system will issue daily ratings that will govern whether or not people will be able to ignite fires in the open air. This will also dictate the level of preparedness / alert of fire fighting forces.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act provisions require that workers are safely trained and equipped for work. Expecting untrained workers to assist in fire management response is illegal and dangerous.

Although a critical component of the response aspect, preparedness is necessary in order to be able to respond in a desired manner.

Emergency and evacuation procedures are an obligation and should be well constructed and pre-planned.