Tuesday, August 11, 2009

National Disaster Management attends Course in Fire Management

source: Republic of Botswana (10/8/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 20 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C4) 7/8/09: "National Disaster Management attends Course in Fire Management"

The Department of Forestry and Range Resources (DFRR) in conjunction with New South Wales Rural Fire Services from Australia conducted a three day course in fire management techniques. The course was attended by representatives from DFRR and the National Disaster Management Office.

The objective of the course was to build capacity in fire management and to identify officers who could be trained as trainers.

Some of the issues covered within the course included the effect wind has on wild land fires, it was indicated that wind changes the flames and pre-heats the fuel load as it maintains an oxygen supply to the combustion zone. Wind change can further cause the fire's direction and intensity to change, therefore one needs to be always aware of wind changes. Temperature and Humidity was also mentioned as a contributing factor to wild land fires, since the fire will be more intense if the temperature is high and humidity low. The type of and layout of vegetation also affects fire behaviour and intensity therefore its important to know the different types like forests, grassland, scrubs and amount of dead litter, i.e. leaves on the ground. Fires also vary there is ground fire, surface fire and crown fire whereby the tops of trees burn not underneath.

With regards the actual fire suppression, participants were informed all fire fighting operations are planned through four priority areas starting with crew safety, save life, save property and lastly restoring normality. In addition there are different strategies used to suppress fire, there is the offensive mode where the fire is attacked and contained utilising three tactics namely direct, parallel and indirect approaches. The defensive strategy is mainly used by allowing the fire to burn while protecting life and property through utilising observe and patrol, as well as property protection tactics.

When official opening the course, Board Member of the Agricultural Resources Board Mr Gaorelatlhe N. Mabua said the country is in the middle of a fire season and it's likely to experience outbreaks of wild land fires again this season. This is a result of the good rains received this year that produced large quantities of fuel load (combustible material). He therefore urged participants to think about some innovative ways that can be used to manage wild land fires, especially on the proactive and preventative aspects.

In another related development the National Disaster Management Office is working together with the Department of Forestry and Range Resources through the local media to sensitise and create awareness amongst the general public on causes and prevention of wild land fires in the country.

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