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

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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.

South African firefighters reportedly asked to leave Canada

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and Alberta’s Premier, Rachel Notley are both intervening in an attempt to resolve the controversy.

A South African news agency, News24, is reporting that the 300 firefighters sent from their country to assist with the wildfires in Alberta have been asked by Canada to go home. The agency also reports that the firefighters are saying they will not leave until they receive the money they have been demanding.

Below is an excerpt from an article at News24:

Jenni Evans, News2

Cape Town – Canada has asked South Africa’s singing firefighters to go home after an internal pay dispute could not be resolved, Working on Fire said on Saturday.

”The Canadian government has asked us to get them out of Canada as soon as possible,” said Johan Heine, chairperson of the board of Working on Fire.

But Heine said the team has indicated that they will not leave until they receive confirmation that their pay demands will be met.

”They are demanding their money before they leave, and [that they] get confirmation that they get more money.”

”We all feel very terrible about it,” said Heine, who has been a firefighter for 30 years.

A Working on Fire management team arrived in Edmonton, Canada on Saturday morning and would travel with a South African embassy official to Alberta where they are based, to negotiate and pick a date for their return.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported online that Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley promised to intervene.

CBS quoted Notley as saying that it was not acceptable to her and her government that they would have people working for wages in that do not align with their labour laws.

She said every firefighter from South Africa or anywhere else would be compensated “in accordance with our laws in this province.”

The Peninsula, a Qatar newspaper, has a similar report.