In preparation for the upcoming fire season, Working on Fire (WoF) and Kishugu trained 49 fire fighters recently. Last year alone Limpopo recorded 242 veld fires, as a result, these organisations are on a mission to recruit and train unemployed South African youths from disadvantaged communities. Limpopo had 15 new trainees who graduated as ‘crew leader type one’ during a ceremony at the Kishugu Training Academy in Mbombela.
The ceremony was the culmination of hard work for the leaders, who lead WoF teams stationed at bases all over the country and conducted the integrated fire management solutions (IFMS) progamme and assisted in combating wildfires. “We acquired numerous skills that will help us lead and manage our teams. We would not be here if it was not for WoF’s support and encouragement,” said Zintle Dudumashe, one of the crew leaders.
Keynote speaker at the event, chairperson of the portfolio committee at the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Phillip Modise, praised the graduates and WoF. “It is a clear demonstration and affirmation that WoF is a national programme. Again, we believe that this ongoing training initiative is part of the government’s plan to create more leadership opportunities for young men and women. “Your journey is one of courage and commitment to ensuring that the nation has a dedicated veld and forest firefighting force, ready and able to protect our environment, our properties, and livelihoods, but most importantly that you save lives during veld and forest fires,” Modise said.
Modise also highlighted the issue of climate change and said WoF would be called upon to execute a crucial role in the mitigation, suppression, and awareness of increased wildfires. “Global warming poses a risk to our environment and to our economy. A 2022 UN study on climate change suggested that the increase in extreme wildfires is likely to grow by 14 percent by 2030, 30 percent by 2050 and 50 percent by the end of the century,” he concluded.
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