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KZNFPA Report

BACKGROUND

In 1954 the Midlands FPA was established and some 30 years later, became known as the KwaZulu- Natal Fire Protection Association.  As regional Fire Protection Associations were established and were registered by DAFF, throughout the Province, KZNFPA applied to DAFF and became the recognised  Umbrella Fire Protection Association in terms of the National Veld & Forest Fire Act 101 of 1998 to facilitate provincial FPA participation in the provincial veld and forest fire management and related risks strategies for KwaZulu-Natal.

 

WHAT ARE THE PRIMARY FUNCTIONS OF KZNFPA?

KZNFPA is currently made up of three divisions performing separate yet integrated functions;

  • Its responsibility as the recognised Provincial Umbrella FPA: it has undertaken to fulfil responsibilities in terms of the NVFFA, since 2006. This function has grown exponentially over the past 6 years under the auspices of the Operations Committee, established by all FPAs in KZN in terms of the KZNFPA Constitution.
  • Aerial fire-fighting support to corporate and private forestry growers in KZN Midlands, and as noted under the auspices of the name “Firestop”. This division of KZNFPA comprises corporate and private members all of whom pay annual fees based on the tier subscription structure for the aerial fire fighting support offered.
  • A third add-on responsibility of KZNFPA at present relates to the camera detection network , with control centres in various regions of the Province.

KZNFPA OBJECTIVES

Taking the above into consideration, KZNFPA, in association with its affiliated FPAs, and service providers and other fire agencies and relevant Government departments, offers an overall coordinating structure in terms of the National Veld & Forest Fire Act in the interest of FPAs and their membership, in order to serve and safeguard the communities, and protect the property & resources of rural KwaZulu-Natal.

KZNFPA will continue to be the voice of integrated veld and forest fire management in KwaZulu-Natal for the benefit of FPAs and its membership base in terms of its obligations.  KZNFPA plays  a pivotal role in providing authoritative advice and information on all aspects of veld and forest fire safety and management through a range of services, to forestry, commercial agriculture and the community at large.

KZNFPA is a not-for-profit association governed by an adopted Constitution, managed by an Executive Committee, Operations Committee, and run by a permanent staff compliment in its Currys Post-based provincial office.  KZNFPA is representative of all FPAs ( and their members), which in turn are made up of the majority of landowner categories within the province.

KZNFPA – INTO THE FUTURE

KZNFPA aims, through excellence in education and representation, to promote integrated veld and forest fire management principles in order to ensure the protection of life, assets and the environment from unwanted wildfires.

KZNFPA’s Mission is to promote an efficient system that supports the activities of registered Fire Protection Associations (and their respective members) in the execution of their duties as set out in section 5 of the National Veld and Forest Fire Act, and which are consistent with the provisions of Act 101, the Disaster Management Act, and other relevant legislation.  KZNFPA works cooperatively with all government departments, inclusive of the Working on Fire Program, corporate and community organizations to facilitate the continuous improvement in standards, legislation, education, products and services revolving around integrated veld and forest fire management.

The following focus areas are core to the growth of KZNFPA, in turn ensuring a well-managed, cost effective and service orientated Association for the benefit of all members and affiliates in turn ensuring a fully integrated and sustainable approach to veld & forest fire management in KZN can be achieved.

  • Strategic
    • Overall strategic policy and planning iro integrated veld & forest fire management for the common area administered by affiliated FPAs,
    • Provide overall strategic direction and planning, including the contributions to local, district and provincial disaster management plans & management centres
    • Facilitate and co-ordinate the provision of equipment, personnel and training standards, where the designated fires services have not provided these
    • Facilitate and coordinate the establishment and sustainability of FPAs within KZN
    • Compile a communication strategy with regarding to education and awareness to ensure the general public are made aware of veldfire management in the province

 

  • Operational
  • Appoint a common FPO who would delegate certain powers and duties to the member FPAs– in this instance being Simon Thomas
  • Ensure ongoing liaison and coordination with the provincial and local disaster management centres
  • Communicate the fire danger ratings to FPAs and other relevant stakeholders
  • Assist with weather data collection for improvements to the predictions from the NFDRS [National Fire Danger Rating System], as well as the collection and dissemination of other relevant data and information to all stakeholders
  • Communicate and report to landowners, the public and DAFF regarding veld fire incidents and management in the area
  • To assist with fire incident command activities and to ensure co-ordination between FPAs and other fire fighting agencies in escalating fire conditions
  • To provide management and maintenance of aerial support services

 

The above focus areas are aligned to the obligations of an Umbrella FPA as set out per the National Veld & Forest Act 101, of 1998 guidelines.

Operations – 2016

The start of the 2015 fire season saw a number of projects being completed to ensure ongoing improvements in the way in which KZNFPA and its affiliated FPAs serve its member base and broader landowner base.

Aerial

KZNFPA has applied in excess of R12.0 million to aerial fire fighting resources in the Province with airfields in the Karkloof, Richmond, Kwambonambi and Melmoth.

A total of 9 SINGLE ENGINE AIR TANKERS, 1 Helicopter and 5 Cessna Spotter aircraft are deployed at the various airfields over the fire season period 1 June – 31 October.  Zululand and Zululand Inland FPAs play a pivotal role in supporting the Zululand airfields.

All Spotter Aircraft have been equipped with new improved headsets to ensure better clarity with communications, especially ground to air.  The aircraft also have GoPro cameras monitoring all aerial fire fighting operations.  The footage of these fires now forms part of the fire report submitted by the Pilot to KZNFPA Management and in turn the member impacted by the fire.  The footage will also assist with post mortem discussions and facilitate improvement in terms of co-ordinated  ground and air support at fires.

Detection

KZNFPA and its affiliated FPAs currently operate in excess of 50 electronic camera detection towers in Zululand and the KZN Midlands.  Control centres are located in each of Kwambonambi, Richmond and Currys Post, operating 24/7/365 to ensure all unwanted smoke and fires are detected as early as possible and reported to subscribing landowners.  These operations cost the private sector in excess of  R9.0m per annum.

Disaster Management

KZNFPA continues to participate on the KZN provincial disaster management forum.  It is hoped that the relevant government structures will fully understand their responsibilities and understand what the private sector has established in the interest of landowners during fire seasons.  Statistics reflect that over 47% of unwanted fires threatening KZNFPA / FPA member properties originate from State or Community owned properties and this is where the Province needs to partner with KZNFPA to achieve a more holistic approach to integrated fire management, all in the interest of the rural communities of KZN whom have very little or no support in terms of overall veld & forest fire management.

KZNFPA Committees

The Committees are well represented of all landowner categories, corporate and private timber, government, commercial agriculture and general landowner members, as well as, by all registered FPAs, Working on Fire, DAFF and other relevant stakeholders.  KZNFPA continue to engage with State landowner groups such as the Ingonyama Trust Board, Department of Rural Development & Land Reform, Eskom, SANRAL as these are the largest category of State landowners which are not compliant with legislation.