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Understanding the Fire Danger Index

Keep a close eye on the Fire Danger Index (FDI) in your town. Why? Because when you know the FDI in your area, it helps you to be prepared. For example, during a Red Day, you must be sure that someone reliable is manning your farm. You need to alert your neighbours if you’re away. And you should halt tourism activities such as hiking.

Every day, we update the FDI on our goFPA website home page and share it on our social media pages.

What does the Fire Danger Index mean?  

The FDI is a rating system that indicates the fire risk of that day. Although it’s a tool to help you prepare, it’s not the only indicator you should follow. And aside from these indicators, you should always use your common sense, and err on the side of caution.

The FDI is colour coded. Here’s what each colour highlights:

BLUE: It’s a safe day – as it’s cold and wet.

GREEN: There is a low fire risk, but care should still be taken.

YELLOW: Veld fires start easily and spread rapidly. They’ll spread up to 25m per minute.

ORANGE: Veld fires start easily and spread very quickly. They’ll spread up to 35m per minute.

RED: Destructive veld fires are likely in fynbos and invasive trees. They spread up to 60m per minute

The goFPA provides the FDI for the following Overberg towns:

– Bredasdorp
– Caledon
– Gansbaai
– Grabouw
– Hermanus
– Kleinmond
– Swellendam
– Villiersdorp

Remember, the FDI can differ dramatically from one town to the next. 

DANGER RATING: Low

FIRE PREVENTION: 

1) No precaution is needed. Must have burning permit.

PREPAREDNESS MEASURES:

None

FIRE BEHAVIOUR

Fires are not likely to ignite. If they do, they are likely to go out without suppression action. There is little flaming combustion.  Flame lengths in grassland and plantation forest litter lower than 0.5 m and rates of forward spread less than 0.15 kilometres per hour.

FIRE SUPPRESSION DIFFICULTY

Direct attack feasible: one or a few field crew with basic firefighting tools easily suppresses any fire that may occur.

DANGER RATING: Moderate

FIRE PREVENTION: 

1) Fires including prescribed burns may be lit, used or maintained in the open air on the condition that persons making fires take reasonable precautions against the fires spreading and have a permit.

2) Only exceptions are fires as prescribed in the cooking fire rules of BDVFPA.

3) Braai fires in designated fireplaces as described in the BDVFPA rules (see rules).

PREPAREDNESS MEASURES: None

FIRE BEHAVIOUR

Fires likely to ignite readily but spread slowly.  Flame lengths in grassland and plantation forest litter lower than 1.0 m and rates of forward spread less than 0.3 kilometres per hour.

FIRE SUPPRESSION DIFFICULTY

Direct attack feasible: fires safely approached on foot. Suppression is readily achieved by direct manual attack methods.

DANGER RATING: High

FIRE PREVENTION: 

1) No fires may be allowed in the open air except those that are authorised by the Fire Protection Officer on an official burning permit.

2) Only fires as prescribed in the cooking fire rules (see rules)

3) Braai fires in designated fireplaces as described in the BDVFPA rules (see rules).

PREPAREDNESS MEASURES: 

1) All fire equipment easily accessible and serviceable.

Above precautionary measure to be prescribed and made applicable nationally on days rated moderate. Fires ignite readily and spread rapidly, burning in the surface layers below trees. Flame lengths in grasslands and plantation forests between 1 and 2m, and rates of forward spread between 0.3 and 1.5 kilometres per hour.

FIRE BEHAVIOUR

Fires likely to ignite readily but spread slowly.  Flame lengths in grassland and plantation forest litter lower than 1.0 m and rates of forward spread less than 0.3 kilometres per hour.

FIRE SUPPRESSION DIFFICULTY

Direct attack constrained: fires not safe to approach on foot for more than very short periods. Best forms of control should combine water tankers and back burning from fire control lines.

DANGER RATING: Very dangerous

FIRE PREVENTION

1) No fires may be allowed in the open air with out permit, except in designated fireplaces as described in the BDVFPA rules (see rules).

2) Tractor drawn bush cutters are prohibited.

3) Mechanical activities such as welding, grinding and use of cutting torches are prohibited in the open veld. Any other activity that may lead to a fire is prohibited.

PREPAREDNESS MEASURES: 

1) All fire units (bakkie sakkies,”spuitkarre”) full and ready.

2) Managers and landowners to inform workers and keep a lookout.

No person may light, use or maintain a fire in the open air with out permit

FIRE BEHAVIOUR

Fires ignited readily and spread very rapidly, with local crowning and short-range spotting. Flame lengths between 2 and 5 m, and rates of forward spread between 1.5 and 2.0 kilometres per hour.

FIRE SUPPRESSION DIFFICULTY

Direct attack not feasible: fires cannot be approached at all and back burning, combined with aerial support are the only effective means to combat fires. Equipment such as water tankers should concentrate efforts on the protection of houses.

DANGER RATING: Extremely dangerous

FIRE PREVENTION: 

1) No fires may be allowed under any circumstances in the open air.

2) All operations likely to ignite fires halted.

3) Smoking only allowed in field as BDVFPA rules.

PREPAREDNESS MEASURES: 

1) All fire units and equipment should be ready for quick response for emergencies (i.e. bakkie sakkies, spuitkarre)

Section 10(1)(b) applies: no person may light, use or maintain a fire in the open air.

FIRE BEHAVIOUR

Conflagrations are likely in plantation forests, stands of alien invasive trees and shrubs, sugar cane plantations, and fynbos. Long range fire spotting is likely in these fuel types. Rates of forward spread of head fires can exceed 4.0 kilometres per hour and flame lengths will be in the order of 5 – 15 m or more.

FIRE SUPPRESSION DIFFICULTY

Any form of fire control is likely to be precluded until the weather changes. Back burning dangerous and best avoided.

CONTACT goFPA

Email: info@overbergfpa.co.za

 

+27 (0) 28 425 1690

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