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.

Firefighter in South Africa collapses on the fireline, dies later in hospital

Firefighter Candice (Ashley) Kruger was 33 years old

Candice Kruger
Candice Kruger

A firefighter in South Africa collapsed while working on a fire January 28 and later passed away in a hospital.

Candice (Ashley) Kruger was helping to suppress a wildfire on the lower slopes of Table Mountain. She was in her ninth year of working for the Fire and Rescue Service in Cape Town and was assigned to the Roeland Street Fire Station.

The City will assist the Kruger family with funeral arrangements and will also offer trauma counseling to her relatives and Platoon colleagues. The Fire and Rescue Service will also offer the family a full Brigade Funeral as Candice died while serving in the line of duty.

Our sincere condolences go out to her friends, family, and co-workers.

Seven people killed in South Africa wildfires

Above: A post-fire scene from Knysna, South Africa. Screen grab from the Times video below.

Wildfires in South Africa have killed five residents, at least one firefighter, and have forced thousands to evacuate.

One of the fires in the Van Stadens Gorge area in the Eastern Cape has reportedly reached some of the buildings at Woodridge College outside of Port Elizabeth, the school said in a Facebook post.

Nine dead in South Africa storm and wildfires

Above: The red dots indicate heat from wildfires in South Africa detected by a satellite on June 7, 2017 . Much of the smoke is obscured by clouds, but it can be seen further to the southeast when it emerges out of the cloud layer. NASA data.

Large wildfires and an associated storm in South Africa have killed at least nine people, according to Western Cape local government spokesman James Brent Styan. A storm system brought very strong winds to the area which resulted in flooding in Cape Town while lightning and winds further to the east have caused fires near Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

The Weather Channel reports that four of the deaths occurred in a fire caused by lightning, and one other person died when a home collapsed. Three others died in a separate fire. Approximately 10,000 residents have been evacuated.

Firefighters provide disaster management training in South Africa

Above: An Incident Management Team working in South Africa. Photo courtesy of Etienne du Toit.

From April 24 to May 12 the International Programs office put on 27 disaster management courses in southern Africa countries in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The courses covered topics on the Incident Command System and National Incident Management System for over 200 trainees from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. Twenty trainers—Forest Service employees and retirees, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation employees, New York Fire Department employees and South African colleagues—delivered the courses.

Since 2009, the Forest Service and OFDA have worked together to build the capacity of South African disaster responders with a focus on fire management. Since the program began, over 4,000 fire personnel have received training from the Forest Service in both South Africa and the United States. Some of the program’s early trainees are now acting as trainers in the region.

This training led to the creation of a firefighting team that in 2015 was deployed to Canada. South African Incident Management Teams have also assisted with flooding in Malawi and Mozambique and wildfires in Indonesia and Chile.

In 2014 the program broadened to encompass all-hazard emergency preparedness and expanded to two more countries in southern Africa: Namibia and Botswana.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Eric.
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Three fires near Cape Town, SA on Tuesday

There were reports that strong winds contributed to the rapid spread of the wildfires.

On Tuesday Firefighters in South Africa were battling three fires in the Cape Town area near Rome Glen, Radloff and Sir Lowry’s Pass. In addition to the video below, you can check out Ian Kitney’s photos at his Kingdom Photography Facebook page.