Western Cape is fire season ready

It warns wildfires seem to be getting worse every year and conditions are still hazardous, due to drought over the past few years.

Working on Fire members battle a blaze in the Waboomskraal area and on slopes of Outeniqua Mountain above Witfontein Plantation on 29 October 2018. Picture: @wo_fire /Twitter

CAPE TOWN – At least 21 aircraft are on standby to help fight wildfires this season in the Cape.

The Department of Environmental Affairs shared a fire season update on Thursday.

It warns wildfires seem to be getting worse every year and conditions are still hazardous, due to drought over the past few years.

Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell said 36 runways have been prepared across the province to ensure aircraft can support ground crews fighting wildfires.

On the ground, over 1,500 firefighters will be supported by 1,000 seasonal firefighters and other stakeholders.

Around 24 Working on Fire crews, firefighters from other provinces, the navy and the airforce are also able to assist.

Bredell has stressed collaboration is critical during the fire season and efforts will be co-ordinated from the provincial disaster management centre in Tygerberg.

As for drought-stricken areas, water supply throughout the warmer months remains a concern, particularly in the Karoo region.

The department is still assessing the recently launched National Water and Sanitation Master Plan on how this will impact the province.