More than 70 firefighters deployed to contain landfill fire in Pietermaritzburg
Durban - Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy on Wednesday saluted the team of firefighters from Working on Fire (WoF) who were deployed to battle the blaze in Pietermaritzburg.
Seventy-eight firefighters and management and 10 support vehicles from the department's WoF programme in KwaZulu-Natal were deployed to contain the fire.
WoF is a government-funded job creation programme which aims to implement integrated fire management in South Africa.
The fire broke out on Monday, July 20, at a landfill site on New England Road in the Msunduzi Municipality.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
On Tuesday, July 21, the Msunduzi municipality’s environmental health unit issued a warning, asking those in ill health who live close to the site to evacuate their homes.
On Friday, July 24, part of the N3 highway, near New England Road, was closed due to the clouds of smoke that billowed over the motorway.
“The team of firefighters and management have been working tirelessly since their deployment on 21 July to support the uMgungundlovu Disaster Management Centre to extinguish the fire that flared up again last week,” said Creecy in a statement on Wednesday.
“Their efforts and commitment at this difficult time are to be commended.”
The incident command centre established to combat the fire includes the WoF team, the provincial Fire Protection Associations and Disaster Management Centre, Msunduzi Fire, Umgungundlovu District Fire and the eThekwini Metro Fire Department.
According to Creecy, the recent spike in cold weather across the province along with dry vegetation and strong winds have created the perfect conditions for fires. She therefore urged community members to remain vigilant when lighting fires.
“Although our teams are ready to fight fires, we rely on community members to be responsible when lighting fires and to report any fires to the authorities as soon as possible,” said Creecy.
African News Agency