Weather

Weather, and in particular fire weather, is incredibly important to us. Not because it starts fires...people do that 99% of the time...but because it makes the fire go to where it will eventually be extinguished.

Favourable fire weather - low temps, high humidity, light winds and the fire will be a pleasure to extinguish. High temps, low humidity and high variable winds is not good for the fire fighters because the fire behaviour becomes extreme and unpredictable very quickly, after ignition.

We collect a lot of statistics to try improve awareness and be as prepared as possible for fires. You will see that Zululand Coastal has 2 distinct fire seasons. The first between February and May, our 'Honey Hunter' season, and the second between July and October, our 'Winter Season'.

The 'Honey Hunter' season falls during the time of year when the Eucalyptus trees, of which we have a whole bunch, are flowering. Numerous swarms of bees move into the area and set up hives, with a potential of 100 hives per hectare. The bees aren't the problem and are essential for pollination. The problem is that the bees find our conservation areas and compartments with old hollow stumps very good places to set up camp. People then come into these areas and make fires to smoke the bees out before they rob the hives. The problem is exacerbated if we are going through a dry and hot cycle during this time period, as the bees become more active and the fire fuels burn readily. Hives are robbed during the early morning and late afternoons. Our all time record was set in 2003 at 17 fires detected in 30 minutes, all honey hunter related. One good thing is the average fire size for these fires was 0.1 hectares. Initial attack works!
Great strides have been made in this department to train the Honey Hunters and to equip them with smokers, sponsored through SAFIRE, as well as give the hunters T-Shirts for their efforts. The number of fires has been greatly reduced because of this programme.

The 'Winter Season' is in our winter when rains are scarce and the fuels are tinder dry. Predominant fire cause is negligence. 

KwaZulu-Natal FDIs

General Weather

Weather charts, satellite images and radar

 

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Contact Us

Ops Room
Tel. 035 580 4220
Tel. 035 580 4713
Fax. 086 624 4021
Fire Protection Officer 
Cell. 082 821 7779
zfpa@kwn.co.za

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