Nelson Mandela Bay firefighters have extinguished 170 fires across the metro since the beginning of the month, officials said yesterday.
Despite the large number, authorities maintain this year’s figure is down on previous years.
According to the metro’s fire department, in January last year there were 570 fires and in the same month the year before, 759.
Of this year’s 170 fires since the beginning of this month, 45 were dwelling place fires of which 14 were houses, 24 informal dwellings and seven other buildings, while there were also 125 vegetation fires.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki confirmed that reported fire incidents in the Bay were low compared to previous years, adding that November to March was the high-risk bush fire season. “It is normally very hot, dry and windy during this period.
“Bush fires normally put a big demand on resources during this time, but we are fairly quiet compared to previous years up to now. All types of incidents are equally important to the fire services, which include rescues and so on. We are ready at all times to respond and attend, not only to bush fires, but also any other emergency in the metro.”
Working on Fire spokesman Linton Rensburg said while the metro’s fire season was in summer, most of the rural Eastern Cape had a winter bush fire season. Rensburg said that the current high-risk fire province was the Western Cape.
He said they had aerial support from 11 helicopters, six fixed-wing planes and nine spotter planes. Most were still en route from the fire-ravaged northern parts of the country.
– Gareth Wilson