2nd Annual Fire Readiness Competition
Amathole Forestry Company (AFC) Plantations lie within the summer rainfall region of South Africa. The main fire hazard is the warm and dry North Westerly “Bergwind” which blows in winter (precedes cold fronts). This wind can become very strong in these mountainous areas. The fire season spans from May through to October each year but with climate change becoming more and more visible, we are now running into end of November for the end of our fire season. The biggest fires historically in the plantations and in the region, have occurred in August and September.
Map showing the fire footprint of the last 12 years in red and plantation boundaries in yellow:
During 2021, Amathole Forestry Company (AFC) spent a lot of time and money on fire training as well as on acquiring adiditionally new fire fighting vehicles to replace old and redundent fire fighting vehicles. These new fire fighting vehicles in the hands of our trained and motivated staff supported by strong leadership are already showing positive outcomes.
Two of the new fire trucks added to the AFC fire fleet in 2021:
At the beginning of June 2021, a delegation from Amathole Forestry Company (AFC) went up to MTO Mpumalanga Whiteriver to observe their annual Fire Competition hosted by MTO, held at the MTO Pull Scar Trail Centre. This was a well worth trip with positive outcomes as well as “inter company networking” taking place, paving the road for future inter company (province) Fire Competition participation.
With a busy fire season nearly behind us and with all the teams still on full fitness and high alert, living the mantra of “Early Detection and Rapid Response”, the stage was set to have our Annual Fire Readiness Competition 2021 , to see how the teams have progressed in experience and professionalism. Having held the 1st Annual Fire Readiness Competition in 2019 and due to Covid 19, putting a hold on the 2020 competition, our 2nd Annual Fire Readiness Competion was held on Friday 15 October 2021 at Kubusi Plantation Stutterheim.
The trophy and information tent and the beautifull mountain back drop at Kubusi Plantation:
The competition was made up of nine (9) stages: Four (4) teams from Amathole Forestry Company (AFC) took part in the competition. The competition between the teams were very strong, with four (4) teams taking part. After all the teams had completed the different stages against the clock, the result were as follows: 1st place Isidenge, with a tie between Hogsback and Kubusi in 2nd place followed by Fort Cunynghame. The tie for 2nd place had to be broken by the foresters of Hogsback and Kubusi completing a Bakkiesakkie challenge. This challenge was won by Hogsback. This meant that the final scores were as follows:
1st place Isidenge Plantation
2nd place Hogsback Plantation
3rd place Kubusi Plantation
4th place Fort Cunynghame Plantation
After the tems enjoyed some refreshments and “boerewors”rolls, a small prize giving ceremony was held where the the winning team received a trophy and company branded caps. All patricipants received a certificate of participation and a company branded “beanie”.
The event was a big success and thanks to all who assisted in organizing and preparing for the event especially the AFC foresters and their teams, who prepared, exercised and drilled to make sure that the AFC flags flew high. Thanks to the competitive spirit and enthusiasm of all involved, this competition is set to become a bigger and better calendar event each year and will be inviting all other agencies and roll players in the area, involved in firefighting very year, to join the competition.
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