Firefighter in South Africa killed while battling wildfire

The firefighter was killed while working on a wildfire in the Simonsberg Mountain area

Makelepe Cedric Seokoma
Makelepe Cedric Seokoma

A firefighter in South Africa was killed  February 5 while working on a wildfire in South Africa. Makelepe Cedric Seokoma was a Base Manager for Working on Fire.

Mr. Seokoma passed away while working to contain a wildfire in the Simonsberg Mountain area near Klapmuts in the Western Cape.

Originally from the Limpopo Province, Mr. Seokoma leaves behind his wife and children. He started at Working on Fire in 2004 and moved up the ranks to the crew leader position, then Instructor. At the time of his untimely passing, he was the the Base Manager in the Western Cape.

The organization employs 5,000 young men and women trained as veld and wildland firefighters stationed in over 200 bases throughout South Africa.

On January 29 another firefighter in South Africa died while on duty. Candice (Ashley) Kruger was helping to suppress a wildfire on the lower slopes of Table Mountain when she collapsed and later passed away in a hospital. She was in her ninth year with the Fire and Rescue Service in Cape Town and was assigned to the Roeland Street Fire Station.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Firefighter in South Africa killed while battling wildfire”

  1. Is it possible to get a map to see where the wildland fire activity has been in SA? With two fatalities, the article posted here, it’d be helpful to get a ‘picture’ – also get a sense of South Africa’s terrain and weather conditions? Cape Town is in the news for draconian water rationing – sounds like maybe a combination of years of no new water supply public works investment/development plus a severe drought.
    As for urban/wildland interface, African traditional construction is mud wattle/adobe with thatch roofs. They’re easy and cheap to shape, patch and repair. That’s overwhelming now persisting in rural/rural farming areas. With more cash economy, the mud wattle buildings/houses get upgraded by families to corrugated iron roofs, then with more money over years are re-built with cement block and metal roofs. Wood not so much because of termites. Urban, suburban and towns is all cement/metal roofs, so are quite resistant to fire (unless the fire starts inside, but then only the interior burns, leaving the structure intact, usually able to be scrubbed out then refurbished). The ramshackle shanty neighborhoods are crammed into empty lots and spaces between and around cement-brick neighborhoods and are typically the inhabited areas that would burn – they’re just scrap wood, even cardboard.


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