After 16 years of Aerial Spraying and Aerial Fire Fighting, Jake Oosthuizen formed Zululand Fire Protection Services cc. with the object of providing a service to the Zululand timber industry. Initially the operation was started by taking over the control centre of the ZFPA which co-ordinated all Fire Fighting operations in the Zululand Coastal Area (approximately 90,000 hectares of Timber). The Ops Room was very low profile and provided a basic communication service to the timber growers in the area. ssops_2008a
Zululand Fire Protection Services handed over control of the ZFPA to the Association and today manage the fire detection in Zululand through their sister company Alasia/FIREHAWK. The Ops room is manned 24 hours a day, 12 months a year. Weather information is collected from 7 weather stations and FDI's are calculated. Internet is installed in the Ops Room and is used for weather predictions, satellite images and communication with the forestry industry world wide. Over the past 8 years the Ops Centre has been upgraded and Alasia/FIREHAWK now manage 16 Electronic Fire Detection Cameras. These cameras send video images from 72 meter towers up to 55 kilometres away. A new upgrade of the cameras is now well under way and the new system is set to be commissioned by 01 September 2013.
In November 2010 the Zululand Fire Protection Association appointed their own Fire Protection Officer to manage the affairs of the Association, to grow membership and to represent the Association at all levels. Forestry Companies, Cane farmers, Game Reserves and Industry all form part of the association.
The total area of the Association is approximately 560 000 hectares.
The following aircraft are used by the Zululand Fire Protection Association:
- 2 x Turbine 400 gallon bombers and 1 x Cessna C182 Spotter.
The Fire Protection Association does not manage any fire fighting resources except for a 25 crew Working on Fire team to assist FPA members at fires, fire breaks and fuel reduction operations. For further information on accessing the team please contact your FPA Tony Roberts as listed in the Contacts Section.
Your FPO Tony Roberts studied at Saasveld Forestry College during the period 1979/1980 after being given a bursary through SAPPI Forests. He then joined the Lion Match Company in Greytown after graduating from Saasveld. In 1983 he joined the then Natal Parks Board where he spent 23 years with them based in Dundee, KwaZulu Natal. During this time he studied part time and was awarded a Nature Conservation Diploma in 1991. In 2005 he left the EZEMVELO KZN Wildlife (new name for the Board) and worked as a tour guide till 2008 when he then became the Environmental Control Officer for a developing Golf Estate. In November 2010 he joined the Association and manages it from Kwambonambi.