Preparing for Fire Management

Veld FireNow is the time for smallholders to begin to prepare for the fire season. When the dry season approaches there is one important piece of legislation which anybody who lives on a plot should know and understand and that’s the National Veld & Forest Fires Act of 1998 ), along with its amendments.
That’s because the law is not on your side if you neglect your obligations as a rural landowner or tenant. For, if you allow a fire to spread from your property to a neighbour’s, whether in the course of burning a firebreak or simply in the case of a runaway veld fire, you could be charged and face penalties which could include compensating your neighbour for loss of buildings, livestock and income.
Also, importantly, the provisions of the act will have a direct bearing on how your insurer views any claim you may lodge following a fire, and assessors are quick to point out that there are certain aspects of the law which are so vague as to make it relatively easy for an underwriter to wriggle out of paying a claim.
Smallholders can refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section – to find out more about different aspects of fire management. For example, it is a good idea to mow the verges outside your property.This is supposed to be done by your municipality, but it does not always happen and so often this is where fires are started, by careless or malicious passers-by.
You can also read a copy of the Act there.
Look out for the May edition of the Gauteng Smallholder, which will have more information.

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