Well, this isn’t pleasant. Large swathes of Gauteng have been placed under a Level 10 weather warning for Thursday 16 September, as high winds and hot conditions threaten to cause fire-related chaos tomorrow.
The weather warning itself is no guarantee that raging veld fires will break out, but a Level 10 alert for fire is the highest possible number on the SA Weather Service’s scale. That means that there is a ‘high likelihood’ of damage should a blaze get going, and the impact level has been designated ‘severe’.
⚠️ ALERT: THE SA WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A WARNING FOR A HIGH FIRE DANGER IN GAUTENG ON THURSDAY! WINDY & WARM CONDITIONS FAVOURABLE FOR POSSIBLE DEVELOPMENT OF RUNAWAY FIRES!!! 🔥— Gauteng Weather (@tWeatherSA) September 15, 2021
According to SAWS’ official website, there’s a significant chance that an inferno could ‘spread rapidly’ in eastern regions of Gauteng, with both Pretoria and Johannesburg on high alert. Parts of Limpopo, North West, Free State, KZN, and even the Northern Cape have also been told to prepare for possible wildfires.
Emergency services, particularly those local to Pretoria and Johannesburg, have been briefed about these developments. Between 10:00 to 18:00 on Thursday, the Level 10 weather warning will come into effect.
SAWS officials believe that there is a ‘possible threat to human life’, and have implored firefighters to respond swiftly ‘to the first sign of smoke’. The following guidance has been published on their website:
“Conditions are such that the FDI index is above 75. Under these conditions, fires may develop and spread rapidly resulting in damage to property and possible loss of human and/or animal life.”
“The emergency services shall be instructed as follows: Fire teams, labour and equipment are to be placed on full stand-by. At the first sign of smoke, every possible measure should be taken in order to bring the fire under control in the shortest possible time. All available aircraft are to be called for without delay.”