Some background information about the Greater Stutterheim Fire Protection Association (FPA)
The GSFPA is situated in the Amathole District Municipality and a section of the Buffalo City Metropolitan. It covers most of the Amahlathi, Great Kei and Nkonkobe Local Municipalities. The GSFPA covers more than 980’000 hectares and is home to more than 330’000 people of which approximately 51% live in rural/village area, 43% in urban/developed areas and 6% live on farms.
Being a summer rainfall district, veldfires occur mostly during the winter season when the passage of cold fronts cause strong westerly, north-westerly and northerly winds and very low atmospheric humidity. Fires that flare up in these conditions often result in significant loss of grazing, timber, crops, livestock, and structures and often cause injury and even death.
The GSFPA area is primarily a rural economy, with commercial and industrial plantations, sawmills, stock-farms and eco-tourism being the most important contributors to the local community. Social assets such as the informal and formal settlements, farmsteads and resorts remain exposed to high risk of loss along with economic assets such as the commercial plantations and environmental assets like water catchments, vulnerable or protected species and wetlands.
The most common causes of wildfires in the area are escaped burns, negligent recreation fires (braai’s etc.), fires that spread into the area, various human influences such as arson and honey-hunting as well as faults in the Eskom power lines. The GSFPA aims to contribute to community development by eliminating loss of life and human injury in veldfires by progressively reducing impacts on property and environmental values, while promoting the useful role of veldfires.