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16 April 2024 Media Release: GRDM continues to create fire breaks on its properties

Media Release: GRDM continues to create fire breaks on its properties

16 April 2024

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), in collaboration with Working on Fire (WoF), created several fire breaks on its properties. The GRDM owns several properties along coastal areas like Rheebok, Glentana, Herolds Bay, Hansmoeskraal, Victoria Bay, Swartvlei and Buffalo Bay. WoF and GRDM work hand-in-glove to create fire breaks in high-risk fire areas.

During Autumn and Winter, properties are prioritised for several reasons – the effects of a change in climate, compliance with relevant legislation, wildfire risks, as well as management of alien invasive plant species. Compliance with the National Veld and Forest Fire Act 101 of 1998, also remains a priority.

The teams already covered Rheebok in February 2024 and concluded the project by clearing the highly invasive Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) trees in the first week of April 2024. On 15 April, the team proceeded to a second property based in Glentana, which borders the George and Mossel Bay Municipalities. This property has significant fuel load and especially dozens of Black Wattle Trees need to be reduced.

It is important to note that alien Invasive plants contribute mostly to fire fuel loads. Some of the most prevalent invasive plants include Black Wattle, Rooikrans, Pine (wild growing), Gum trees (Eucalyptus), Hakea, Port Jackson, Long leaved wattle, and Black Wood.

According to Deon Stoffels, the GRDM Fire Chief: “Landowners are responsible for preparing and maintaining fire breaks. Each owner on whose land a veldfire may start, or from whose land it may spread must prepare and maintain a firebreak on his or her side of the boundary between his or her land and any adjoining land.”

Firebreaks are particularly important as it provides for an area of reduced fuel load which will reduce the intensity of a wildfire and allow for more effective combating.

Feature Image: A firebreak on a Rheebok property that is owned by the Garden Route District Municipality.