CHAPTER 3 FIRE DANGER RATING
Chapter 3 provides for the prevention of veldfires through a fire danger rating system. The Minister sets up and maintains the system, although he or she may delegate his or her powers and duties to do so to an organisation with the necessary expertise. The content of the system and the factors to be taken into account when preparing it are set out. A prohibition on the lighting of fires in the open air comes into force when the Minister warns in the media that the fire danger is high.
Fire danger rating
9. (1) The Minister must prepare and maintain on a continuous basis a fire danger rating system for the entire country in consultation with—
(a) the South African Weather Bureau or any successor to that Bureau; and
(b) fire protection associations.
(2) The Minister may consult other organisations with expertise, information or equipment relevant to the establishment or maintenance of a fire danger rating system.
(3) The Minister must divide the entire country into separate regions, each region being one in which the fire danger is usually sufficiently uniform to allow for a single rating which is meaningful for the entire region.
(4) The fire danger rating system must—
(a) take into account the relevant peculiarities of each region, including—
(i) the topography;
(ii) the type of vegetation in the area;
(iii) the seasonal climatic cycle;
(iv) typical weather conditions;
(v) recent weather conditions;
(vi) where reasonably possible, current weather conditions;
(vii) forecasted weather conditions; and
(viii) any other relevant matter;
(b) incorporate the formula or formulae needed to—
(i) take into account all factors affecting the fire danger for each region;
(ii) calculate the indicators needed to rate the fire danger;
(iii) rate the fire danger in each region for an appropriate period or periods;
(c) show the rating in a clear format;
(i) what activities are dangerous and what precautions should be taken for each rating;
(ii) when the fire danger is rated as high.
(5) The Minister may require any fire protection association to provide information needed for the fire danger rating system within a period specified by him or her.
Communication of fire danger rating
10. (1) The Minister must—
(a) communicate the rating of the fire danger for each region to the fire protection associations in that region regularly;
(b) when the fire danger is rated as high in any region, publish a warning at the earliest possible opportunity in all the main languages used in that region—
(i) on three television channels and three radio stations broadcasting to that region; and
(ii) in two newspapers circulating in that region; and
(c) ensure that recordings are kept of the broadcasts and copies are kept of the newspaper notices.
(2) When the Minister has published a warning in terms of subsection (1)(b), no person may light, use or maintain a fire in the open air in the region where the fire danger is high.
(3) The warning referred to in subsection (1)(b) must—
(a) say that the fire danger is high;
(b) refer to the prohibition on lighting, using or maintaining fires in the open air; and
(c) identify the region in which and the period for which the prohibition applies.
(4) The Minister may publish the warning in such other media or employ any other means as he or she considers appropriate to ensure that it is effectively communicated.
Delegation of powers and duties
11. The Minister may delegate any of his or her powers or duties in terms of this Chapter to—
(a) the South African Weather Bureau if the Director-General of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism agrees;
(b) any successor to that Bureau; or
(c) an organisation with the necessary expertise,
and may pay such an organisation for its services from money appropriated by Parliament.