The Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) has been combating dangerous and sometimes deadly runaway wildfires since its baptism during the devastating 1999/2000 fires in Cape Town. With over 400 volunteer members at four stations (Newlands, Stellenbosch, South Peninsula and Helderberg Station), VWS is a highly-organised Non-Profit Organisation, run and managed by a team of volunteers as well as a small management team.
The VWS has assisted the Table Mountain National Park, CapeNature, Overberg District Municipality and Winelands District Municipality with some of the biggest fires Cape Town and the Western Cape have experienced in recent years.
The VWS works closely with other emergency service organisations in wildland fire management such as Table Mountain National Park, CapeNature, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service, Disaster Management, Winelands Fire Brigade, Stellenbosch Fire Brigade, Overberg District Municipality and Working on Fire. This has meant that to date VWS has achieved over 70,000 active firefighting hours between its members and stations.
The Integrated Wildfire Management Services provided by the VWS include:
• Wildfire suppression services
• Wildfire suppression and management training
• Education and awareness
• Monitoring and active fire suppression during prescribed ecological burns
• Saving and protecting South Africa’s natural heritage, property, lives and precious mountain water catchment areas.
VWS is run by a CEO and Board of Directors that deals with the governance and strategic direction of the organisation. All four stations have a dedicated Station Management Team that deals with operational matters and ensures that the members are well trained, equipped and ready to respond to a call-out at a moment’s notice throughout the year.
As an NPO, we rely solely on private funding to procure equipment and personal protective equipment (Approx $350-$400 per firefighter), fuel and maintain a fleet of vehicles and to ensure VWS continues fighting wildland fires.
We hold the line between fire and fynbos!