In the past seasons, City of Ekurhuleni (CoE) Disaster and Emergency Management Services (DEMS), had to service several graphic road accidents and structures fires because of uncontrolled and unmonitored grass fires. Unfortunately, in some severe instances, lives were lost.
Winter season is associated with cold temperatures, dry vegetations and strong blowing winds subjecting the magnitudes of fires to be at the maximum.
Inappropriate disposal of domestic garden vegetation is still a common practice from many residents within the City, and that puts the possibility of fire risks to be at the highest level.
Grass fires can start and spread quickly and are extremely dangerous to life and property. They can run at a very high speed in accordance to the speed and direction of the wind. They can emit heavy dense smoke obscuring vision, irritating eyes and negatively affecting those with chronic lung diseases. At the worst, causing respiratory complications and because of that, possibilities of death are high. Major grass fires next to the major routes, are subjecting motorists to fatal crashes. Large amounts of smoke released in the air also causes atmospheric pollution.
Possible causes of Grass Fire:
- Spontaneous Ignition of the dry vegetation. (Magnifying glasses)
- Lit cigarette buds.
- Direct and deliberate cause. (Matches and Lighters)
- Chemical reaction.
Prevention of Grass Fires:
- Smokers to halt from throwing lit cigarette buds away. With the cigarette smoking motorists, this is a common practice.
- Avoid burning combustibles on windy dry days. When conditions are windy or dry, it is too easy for open flames to spread uncontrollably.
- Glass can magnify the sun rays and start the fire, do not leave them on dry grass.
- Matches and Lighters in the wrong hands, can lead to the fire. Children shouldn’t be allowed to play with such. They are not toys.
- Avoid overgrown, dense and dry vegetation next to the dwellings. They pose danger to the structures.
- Never leave campfires unattended. Extinguish them properly after use.
- Thatch roof structures are subjected to fires, please extinguish the braai/barbeque fires immediately after use. DO NOT LEAVE BRAAI FIRES UNATTENDED. Ensure that they are extinguished.
- Do not use flammable liquids to burn bush, trash or other waste.
NB: Subject to provision of the Veld and Forest Act and Environmental Management Act, no person may make an open, uncontrollable or unattended fire or permit a fire to be made in such a manner as to pose a real or potentially real threat to any human being, animal, building, premises or other properties. Permission for such needs to be obtained from the local Chief Fire Officer.
(011) 458- 0911 : Life Threatening Ekurhuleni Emergency Line
10177 : National Toll-Free Number
112 : Cell Phone