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May 12, 2004

The 2004 wildfire season started with a bang but backed off. This temporary lull gives the fire crews a chance to get acquainted with each other and train on the equipment. Things will not stay quiet for long.

May 10, 2004

The following story was submitted to me for publishing on Firefighterexchange.com. Hats off to Willem and his crew fighting fire on the African veld.
A Story from South Africa
By Willem Post, Junior Fire Member
South Africa
"I am stationed on a mine village and am also relatively new to this. I have been in the team for about 14 months now, but I am already addicted to firefighting.
We basically do veld fires and assist our neighbour farmers with their fires and preventative measures, in an 45 kilo radius.
We are a team of 5 guys, of different backgrounds and permanent jobs in the various areas in the mining industry.
The biggest fire I've been to was a fire that ran 36 kilometers wide, from one of the neighboring towns.
We were called out one Sunday afternoon (5:30 pm) and only got home Monday morning (08:00 am). We started by doing an assesment of the area, the wind direction and what resources we had available. My task was to go to the front line with a starter to get the fire to burn back towards the major fire and the team followed with the truck.
It took us about 45 minutes to blaze the front area, as we are also dedicated to stop what ever fire we attack. From there we moved bakwards and and started attacking the fire from behind. This proved to be a success as well and in the process we realised that you do not need a big team to be efficient.
If the health and the big hand from above holds me high, I would not leave this for anything in the world, as this is my way of making a differance in our community.
*To all the other firefighters out there, keep up the good work, stay focussed, and best of luck."
--Willem is stationed in the Gauteng area in South Africa, close to a town called Carletonville, on a mine village called Deelkraal, about 120 kilos from Johannesburg. He can be reached at WPost@Harmony.co.za--