firebreak

Fire

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PREVENTION AND SUPPRESSION OF WILDFIRES ON LAND UNDER YOUR CONTROL

Wildfires are a regular occurrence in South Africa. Every year during the fire season the news contains stories of wildfires sweeping through the country.

The impacts of wildfires are many:

Further resources dealing with the impact of fire, and particularly its impact on biodiversity are available by clicking here.

 

HOW DOES THE LAW DEAL WITH WILDFIRES?

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL DUTIES REGARDING WILDFIRE PREVENTION?

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRE BREAKS?

WHAT IS THE FIRE DANGER RATING SYSTEM?

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ESTABLISHING AND JOINING A FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION?

PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE
If a person brings civil proceedings and proves that:

  1. He or she suffered loss;
  2. The loss was caused by a wildfire; and
  3. The wildfire started on or spread from land owned by the defendant, the defendant is presumed to have acted negligently in relation to the wildfire unless:
    1. The defendant proves that he or she was not negligent; or
    2. The defendant is a member of a FPA in the area where the fire occurred, in which case the person bringing the claim must prove that he or she was negligent.

LEGAL DUTIES OF FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATIONS
A fire protection association has a number of legal duties –

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL DUTIES REGARDING FIRE SUPPRESSION?

WHAT SHOULD BE CONTAINED IN A FIRE MANAGEMENT PLAN?
A fire management plan for a property should identify:

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

WHAT IS INTEGRATED FIRE MANAGEMENT?
Integrated fire management is a series of actions that are carried out to create a sustainable and well-balanced environment where the damage from wildfires is reduced and the beneficial use of controlledfires is optimised.
It includes fire awareness, fire prevention, prescribed burning, resource sharing and co-ordination, detecting fires, suppressing fires and rehabilitating fire damage.
To be effective, the actions must be carried out at a local, provincial and national level.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have to do anything if I am only leasing the property?

Do I have to have a firebreak on my property?

Who must pay for the costs of a firebreak?

What can I do if my neighbour does not remove a fire hazard from his property?

What can I do if there is no FPA in my area?

Why should I join an FPA?

Who is responsible for damages that I suffered as a result of a fire?

Who is responsible for the costs of fighting fires?

The information on this page can be downloaded in the form of a booklet (PDF File format) from www.firewise.org.za.

Article supplied by Ezimvelo KZN Wildlife. Prepared by David Waddilove for the Working on Fire Programme. Acknowledgement: Some of the information in this booklet is drawn directly from Resource Materials on the National Veld and Forest Act No. 101 of 1998 compiled by Stephen Heyns for the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry.

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