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Warning of “false sense of security” for fire season

Warning of “false sense of security” for fire season

Ruth Bezuidenhout, GM of Safire’s Crop Division, urges against being “lulled into a false sense of security” because of relatively good rains in parts of the country during the recent summer rainfall period.

“Some of the most catastrophic fires we’ve experienced occurred shortly after heavy snowfalls or rain,” she says. “Fuel loads are high this year and extra precautions should be taken when burning.” It isn’t only farmers and timber-growers who need to be cautious: over 80% of all wildfires are caused by humans, either through deliberate acts of arson or negligence, such as campfires and braais left unattended, the uncontrolled burning of rubbish, sparks from equipment malfunctions, discarded cigarettes, and other causes. Ruth stresses the need for care after a deliberate burn: “Many of our claims in recent years resulted from flare-ups that occurred days – sometimes weeks – after a controlled burn.”

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