The Running Commentary


Volunteer Wildfire Services – Unsung hero’s


On Saturday I had the privilege of attending the VWS open day held in the Newlands forest (Cape Town), at their base station.  I cannot give you the numbers of the people who were there, but it appeared to be really well attended. This post really serves as a “shout out” to the guys and girls who have volunteered their time to be part of this amazing team.

We (my kids and I) spent some time meandering through the various displays, including medical services, the parks board, spiders (I was about three meters back from this one) and some snakes. In addition to this we saw the abseiling area and got to check out the helicopter together with some other amazing equipment. All the while I was struck by the amazing attitude of all of the volunteers that we encountered. Each volunteer, dressed in their apparel, really made one feel at home. Their enthusiasm was absolutely amazing.

The highlight of our morning was two fold. The first was seeing the new team of volunteers being introduced and these were followed by the working on fire team and the contracted team. The working on fire team is an amazing initiative which I heard about for the first time on Saturday. This team of people are drawn from underprivileged areas and are trained in ground fire fighting techniques.  They are employed and therefore this initiative serves two purposes namely poverty alleviation and fire fighting. One certainly felt a distinct sense of pride for this team when they took to the field.

The next highlight was watching a demonstration by the VWS on how they dealt with a fire. This included the helicopter water bombing a mock fire, the establishment of the line of people showing how the veld fire would be dealt with using their fire beaters.  As an aside, the helicopter in fact made a second pass in which the new recruits were bombed with water as part of their initiation to the service. This caused much laughter amongst the members of the public who were there.

As we left for the day we were handed a small card which detailed the costs for running the program and how we could donate towards the process.  I was struck at how much they achieve on such a small amount of funding. I have added a link to their donations page here and would urge you to show your support (particularly if you are in the Cape Town area)

In closing let me say one more time what an amazing morning we had and once again a big thanks to the VWS team for the work that you all do to keep our areas safe.

firefirefightingVolunteer Wildfire Servicesworking on fire

Mike • December 6, 2010

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  2. 6000 December 6, 2010 - 2:24 pm

    I was there too.
    Great day out – especially for the kids. And all for a good cause.

  3. Mike December 6, 2010 - 4:36 pm

    Thanks for the comment and the great photo set. Based on your first pass shot you must have literally been standing next to me!

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