The City’s Fire & Rescue Service has finalised its aerial support craft for the summer season.
Each year, the Service contracts the use of two Huey helicopters and a Cessna 182 spotter plane to complement its firefighting efforts.
Last season, the spotter plane flew a total of 38 hours and 34 minutes, while the helicopters flew for a total of 68 hours and 26 minutes, having completed 1 017 water drops.
For the first time since using the aerial appliances, they will be branded this season, to be clearly identifiable as City resources.
‘We see a dramatic increase in vegetation fires over the summer months, and these aerial support craft are critical to our firefighting efforts, particularly when dealing with inaccessible mountainous areas. The spotter plane too is a very useful resource to help direct our efforts, as it is literally an eye in the sky that can help guide incident commanders in how to dispatch resources,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
Between October 2022 and January 2023, the Fire & Rescue Service responded to 6 024 vegetation fires – a 13% increase compared to the same period the previous year, when 5 331 vegetation fires were recorded.
Apart from the aerial support, the Fire & Rescue Service will also have:
- A minimum of 210 firefighters on duty at fire stations across the city at any given time
- 120 Specially trained Wildland Firefighters, employed on a fixed term contract
- Signed Mutual Aid agreements with some neighbouring District Municipalities and other designated services in the event of major incidents requiring assistance.
- Ongoing working relationships with the Table Mountain National Park and Volunteer Wildfire Services
‘Cape Town is no stranger to wild fires. To this end, we have put in place numerous measures to mitigate the risks, and to effectively manage incidents where they do occur. I also want to remind the public to please report any sign of fire as soon as you spot it. Do not assume that someone else has already done it. The sooner a fire is reported, the sooner our teams can respond and limit the extent, potentially saving lives and property,’ added Alderman Smith.