Now is the time that law-abiding smallholders should be attending to the prevention of fire in their plots.
Fire prevention includes the much-discussed question of firebreaks.
The law requires land occupiers (i e not necessarily the owner, but tenants also) to make firebreaks around their property to prevent the spread of fire from or to their property to neighbouring land.
What constitutes a firebreak depends on a number of factors, not the least important being the height of the grass adjoining it. However, a general rule of thumb is that a firebreak in Gauteng grassland should comprise two five metre wide strips of veld that have been mown short to manicured lawn length and cleared of the cuttings, separated by a five metre wide strip in which all the combustible material has been removed.
The full 15m width can be shared between neighbours, i.e. they can cut the one 5m strip alongside the fence while you plough or burn 5m immediately the other side of the fence and cut the second 5m strip on your property, or you can each clear a 2,5m strip on each side of the fence, and each cut 5m alongside it.
The June edition of the Gauteng Smallholder magazine carries extensive coverage of everything that you need to know about fire prevention legislation and how smallholders can meet their obligations in this regard.