Another innovative initiative from the Western Cape Government, Disaster Management and Fire/Rescue Services
At the request of the Western Cape Disaster Management and Fire/Rescue Services, two private companies have come together to improve the effectiveness of the Western Capes Provincial government’s proactive approach to the management of wildfires, which occur in many parts of the province. This proactive approach to managing wildfires (veld, forest and mountain fires) includes the rapid deployment of resources (aerial and ground) to such wildfires, whilst in their incipient stages. This comprises a rapid initial attack with the primary objective of preventing and reducing a mega wildfire.
NCC Wildfires has a three-year contract with the Western Cape Government to provide Type 1 ground crews to respond to wildfires on behalf of the various municipalities and organisations in the Western Cape. At the same time the Western Cape Government has contracted Kishugu Aviation, who in turn are sub-contracting Leading Edge Aviation, South Africa, who own, operate and crew a Black Hawk helicopter, to aid with rapid response to wildfires. Leading Edge, via a term contract with Kishugu Aviation, provide a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter, to aid with the rapid response to wildfires. This is the only Black Hawk of its kind in South Africa that provides wildfire services.
NCC and Leading Edge Aviation have come together to ensure that resources are deployed to the fireline more efficiently. Without ground crews the effectiveness of a helicopter’s firefighting effort is greatly reduced. Likewise, not having water to assist ground crews working in remote areas, makes containment much harder and at times, more dangerous. Putting these two resources together makes a highly efficient and effective firefighting resource.
Over the last few weeks, NCC’s Type 1 ground crews have been trained by Leading Edge Aviation and are about to receive their certification. They will then have the capability to respond together as an initial attack for wildfires throughout the Western Cape. This enables ground crews to get to the fireline faster, be inserted into generally inaccessible areas and importantly, obtain an overhead situational awareness of the fire behaviour on arrival.
This is another first for the Western Cape Government, NCC Environmental Services and Leading Edge Aviation.
Photos: Charl Steenkamp
For further information contact:
Western Cape Government – Wouter Kriel – Tel: 079 694 3085, E-mail: Wouter.Kriel@westerncape.gov.za
NCC Environmental Services – Charl Steenkamp – Tel: 021 7022884, E-mail: CharlS@ncc-group.co.za
Leading Edge Aviation, South Africa – Mark Jackson – Tel: 082 450 2097, E-mail: email@example.com