After last year’s major fire that swept through the valley, TRC has been working towards reducing the risk of fire and improving the centre’s ability to fight them. There were some very close calls with the last fire as it came within centimetres of buildings, melted pipes and destroyed one of the camping ablution blocks. Apart from the threat to assets, infrastructure and lives, one must also consider all the environmental damage and thousands of beings caught in the flames of a runaway fire.
With these considerations in mind, TRC is doing all we can to reduce the risk and take the necessary precautions against future fires.
The first line of defense on any property facing the threat of fire is to install fire breaks. The concept of a firebreak is to create a strip of open space around a property which will not burn when in contact with a wild fire. This can be done using many different techniques but the one we have decided to trial involves the use of cattle to graze down a 10m strip around the boundary of the TRC main, and training centre, sites.
The cattle we are using have been borrowed from a friendly neighbour and are control grazed around the perimeter of the property. The herd is only moved to the next camp once all the available food has been eaten. This means that we are left with a strip fire break which will at least slow down a fire, if it cannot completely stop it. The wonderful benefit of this technique is that it not only reduces the fire risk but also leaves behind some high quality fertiliser in the form of cow manure, so enhancing the overall fertility of the land.
We hope that if confronted with a fire this season the fire breaks will work effectively but to further improve the chances of fighting a fire extra equipment is desperately needed. TRC needs to purchase additional fire fighting equipment in order to effectively prepare for a fire event. The equipment still needed includes one 600 litre fire fighting tank and two high powered backpack blowers. This equipment will ensure that a fire which reaches or crosses the fire breaks can be dealt with quickly and effectively.
The price for the equipment is R9000 for the Tank and R18000 for the two backpack blowers. This will significantly increase TRC’s fire fighting capabilities and ensure a safer environment for all TRC retreatants and residents.
Please help TRC’s attempts to reduce wild fire risk at the Centre. If you feel able to donate, please click here. Any amount will help.