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Warnings of a riskier wildfire season in the Western Cape

Despite this, the Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department says firefighters are ready and prepared to respond.

In the 2017/18 wildfire season, firefighters dealt with around 17,000 incidents. Picture: 123rf.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department on Thursday said the wildfire risk this season was going to be higher than in years before.

This is because the department was unable to do all the fire breaks and regular preparation work in risky areas due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Despite this, the department says firefighters are ready and prepared to respond.

The province is more at risk of wildfires during the summer months and authorities start gearing up in October.

In the 2017/18 wildfire season, firefighters dealt with around 17,000 incidents.

Two-thousand fires were reported in informal settlements - and 9,000 were wildfires.

Chief Director of Disaster Management Colin Diener says more resources are now available.

“In 2010, we had just eight aircraft. We’ve now moved up to, with all our partners, around almost 30 aircraft. And then we’ve also got live satellite monitoring of the weather that picks up any fire larger than 15 square metres.”

Over the weekend, firefighters were deployed to Deer Park, were negligence was being investigated.

“We could not determine that that was, in fact, the case but we do have a number of fire investigators who got called upon for the Deer Park fire but at this stage we do not have a specific report.”

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