A wildland fire that burned across the provincial boundaries of Gauteng and the North West Province this week was controlled in a team effort of veld and forest fire fighters from multiple organisations and an FFA Group aerial crew.
Trevor Wilson, airborne incident commander on the Fochville and Potchefstroom wildland fires, confirmed the FFA Group supplied two spotter aeroplanes and three Huey helicopters fitted with Bambi-buckets for the fire fighting effort. One Helicopter Support Vehicle was also moved from Mpumalanga to the North West Province.
The aircraft were dispatched to the wildland fires from FFA bases in KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga. One spotter plane transported a senior incident command management team to the scene of the worst wildland fire at Fochville in the North West Province.
“In total it took about 50 hours of flying time to end the wildland fires in winds of up to 100kms an hour,” said Wilson who was in the spotter plane directing the aerial and ground teams fighting the blazes.
At one point the pilots were working on nine different fires.
“We were picking up water in every dam, reservoir and river we could find,” said Wilson. The wildland fires were controlled by late Wednesday, 24 August with mopping up efforts continuing the following day.