Working on Fire in the Eastern Cape recently recruited more than 50 young people who will be trained as veld and forest firefighters different bases around the province. Ground Operations Manager of the province Nkululeko Mlanjeni said these young men and women were recruited in Lottering, Witelsbos, Longmore, Mkhambathi, Langeni, Mhlahlane and Ugie this week.
Mlanjeni said every candidate had to pass a fitness test during the recruitment.
“Working on Fire criteria includes fitness test which consist of 40 push-ups, 40 sit-ups as well as running 2.4km in 14 minutes for females and 12 minutes for males,” said Mlanjeni.
He said all the new recruits will undergo training courses that include advanced firefighting, fire safety and other specialised skills at the training academy in Nelspruit. “These recruits will be taught extensively on the essential of integrated fire management,” Mlanjeni said, and their day to day fire prevention work would include fuel load reduction and community awareness.
Meanwhile, the Fire Danger Index has been extremely high in most parts of the Province and Working on Fire teams have been busy assisting various nature reserves, communities and landowners in suppressing veld and forest fires.
This rating system has five colours indicating when it’s safe to burn.
Blue indicates a low fire hazard, green moderate danger, yellow dangerous, orange is very dangerous and red indicates that’s its extremely dangerous to start a fire on that day.
In the past week, the Eastern Cape teams attended 19 fires with the Singisi Forest fire burning for three days. Four teams – Molteno, Tsomo, Langeni and Mhlahlane – worked together in put out this fire. Other Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ Working on Fire firefighters who have been very busy are the Matatiele, Ongeluksnek, Mkhambathi, Nqadu, Joe Gqabi, and Stutterheim teams.