The MTO Group aims to align and refine local fire readiness to be better prepared with reference to Fire Danger Index forecasts in order to respond rapidly to any fire reported in terms of the standard operating procedure.
Each business unit compiles a fire risk assessment to identify potential fire risks on the business unit, which is revised annually. The risk profile forms the basis of the Integrated Fire Management plan – this included steps such as looking at fire history, hazards, assessing the risks. The fire risks are graded through the fire risk assessments by identifying and elevating relevant fire hazards and risks that require special mitigation measures to actively reduce the maximum potential (estimated maximum) loss.
The fire risk is assessed according to probability and impact and then scored accordingly.
Once the risk profile has been determined and assessed it becomes important to mitigate these risks through the planning and implementation of risk reduction interventions and strategies. This includes:
Create strategic buffer zones along plantation boundaries where a high fire risk exists. These buffers can take the form of planting fire tolerant species such as P.Ell.
Protect plantation boundaries using pre-scribed burning (blokbrande). The use of pre-scribed burning will not only be limited to mountain catchments, but could also be applied to burning under compartments that have been planted with fire tolerant species.
Silvicultural practices such as weed control which aims to effectively reduce the fuel load in the compartments.
We ensure that our staff and contractors are trained to fight fires aggressively and safely. Only trained individuals are allowed to be used for standby and for fighting fires. All training for fire-fighting is done primarily through MTO Training. Basic firefighting refresher courses are done annually and are compulsory for all plantation workers (staff and contractors).
We are committed to timeous detection, reporting and actively being involved in all fires which might pose a threat to any of our landholdings.
We apply the basic principles of the Incident Command System (ICS) at all fires. The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardised approach to the command, control, and coordination of emergency response providing a common hierarchy within which responders from multiple agencies can be effective.
We endeavour to make sufficient resources available relative to the risk profile of each management unit.