The primary legislation when it comes to fire risk management is Act No. 101 of 1998: National Veld and Forest Fire Act, 1998.
(1) The purpose of this Act is to prevent and combat veld, forest and mountain fires throughout the Republic.
(2) The Act provides for a variety of institutions, methods and practices for achieving the purpose.
To proactively engage with neighbours; stakeholders and communities in order to create awareness of potential risks to all concerned.
A firebreak is an obstacle to the spread of fire, such as a strip of open space in the landscape.
Firebreaks are prescribed for each business unit and can be seen in the fire protection plan for each business unit.
Fuel load management
Reducing the fuel load are all actions and activities taken to proactively prevent the spread of wildfires before a fire incident has occurred.
Fuel load management aim is to create strategic buffer zone systems from where wild fires can be contained. Fuel is the only element that we can control – we can’t control the weather or the topography. The MTO Group’s focus is to lower fuel loads, which result in lower intensity fires which cause less damage to growing crops. The MTO Group will focus on the following:
Identify and establish strategically located buffer zones (low-fuel-load zones) at plantation and regional level in collaboration with fire protection associations (FPA’s) and neighbours to subdivide plantations or farms into smaller appropriate units in order to limit potential damage from wildfires.
Apply responsible fuel load reduction strategies in conservation and open areas, post harvesting as well as selectively doing under canopy burning as warranted to reduce fire fuel loads as well as measures like mulching, disking and weeding.
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.
Undertake silvicultural practices such as weed control which aims to effectively reduce the fuel load in the compartments.