There have been catastrophic wildfires observed around the world in recent months.
Climatologists say this is due to increased global warming, and with July having been marked as the hottest month recorded, the European Union’s climate observatory has warned of dire consequences.
That the planet is taking strain is undeniable.
In Hawaii last week, many people died as a result of devastating runaway fires which engulfed towns so fast that alarm systems were unable to be implemented.
Much of our city is set among or next to forestry.
Following the exit of NCT from the management of the city’s greenbelt, there was a rapid deterioration in the condition of the forests.
We’ve covered numerous stories in which the municipality has been criticised for its lack of maintenance of the forests.
The forest road network is impassable in places due to fallen trees and damage that’s not been repaired, and there’s been no removal of the undergrowth, which helps to create tinderbox conditions when it is dry.
We’re told that crucial fire breaks were not burned ahead of the fire season.
Residents whose properties border the forests were told they would not be insured against fires that emanate from the forests.
Cries from them and the greater public to the City to get our forests under control appear not to have been heard.
If El Niño conditions materialise as they are expected to, the coming years could be very risky if urgent action is not taken.
We reported in May that the forests, a multi-million-rand asset, have been dumped by the city’s insurer due to non-compliance around the requirement of two dedicated, qualified and experienced fire-fighting teams on standby throughout the fire season, among others.
Does the City have a plan for our forests?
Do we have the capacity within our fire department right now to respond to a massive fire, fanned by August winds, and protect the homes that border them?