CoW warns against veld fires

What to do in case of an emergency

13 July 2020 | Disasters

Unlike many other hazards, most veld fires are caused by people and can be prevented by people too.
This year the vegetation growth presents a lot of dry biomass (grass) that can burn and quickly turn into a big, uncontrollable veld fire. Hence, residents in fire prone areas should plan ahead and avoid destruction to the environment and damage to properties as a result of veld fires in and around the city of Windhoek.
The City of Windhoek (CoW) shares these tips on how to prevent veld fires:
• Clear vegetation at least three to six metres from your house boundaries adjacent to open spaces, covered with grass and bushes.
• Do not dump garden refuse or any other combustible material in the veld or any other place than the allocated dumping sites.
• Do not make fires in the open veld.
• Report veld fires as soon as possible.
• Report cases of deliberate firesetters.
• For fire suppression, keep a garden hose connected to a tap which can reach the boundaries of your premises.
• Regularly clean your roof and gutters.

Whenever you are burning garden refuse:
• Notify the Fire Service on 061 211 111.
• Burn it in a barrel with a grid or grill over the barrel to prevent burning debris from flying around.
• Keep a garden hose connected to a tap handy to put out small fires.
• Never leave the fire unattended.
• Do it with the knowledge and consent of your neighbours.
• Remember you are ONLY allowed to burn garden refuse between 10:00 and 16:00 and it should not be more than one cubic metres (1 000kg) at a time.

When there is a thatched structure on your premises:
• Note the condition of the thatching. If it is eroded, consider replacing the eroded grass, since it is highly combustible and catches fire easily.
• Keep a garden hose, long enough to reach the boundaries of your premises, fixed to a tap.
• Keep a long-handle metal rake at hand to remove burning debris from the thatch.
• When a sprinkler is installed on the thatched structure, everyone has to know where and how to open it.
• Keep your thatch clean from debris or other combustible material.
• Make sure that no part of your thatch is hanging over the boundary of your premises.
• Remind your children about the hazards of a veld fire and keep work telephone numbers at hand for them or domestic workers to use in an emergency.

For further information, please contact the City of Windhoek Fire Safety and Prevention section on
061 290 3440, 061 290 2810 or 290 2816

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