News - South African Scouts support Helderberg firefighters
South African Scouts mobilised quickly to support over two
hundred fire-fighters and
conservation staff during this weekends devastating
wild fires on the Helderberg
mountain that saw eleven houses and a hotel burned to the
Scouts, adult leaders and parents from four scout groups
in the Helderberg District, Western Cape, South Africa mobilised
quickly to support conservation staff and fire fighting personnel
during this weekends devastating wild fire. After taking
the initiative to offer assistance to the Helderberg Nature
Reserve, Scout leaders in the district mobilised rapidly to
the urgent call for assistance.
Springbok Scout and Chairperson of the National Youth Forum,
Robert Turner, manned the reserve telephone, fielding general
enquiries and questions from the media. Scout parent and adult
leader, Nikki Jacobs, provided a child minding service for
children whose parents were engaged in the fire-fighting activities
and Scout families phoned friends informing them of the donations
required to provide food and drinks to the fire-fighting personnel.
The biggest task was however carried out by the scouts themselves
who made hundreds of sandwiches, packing them into boxes with
bottles of water for distribution to the respective fire fighting
teams. The scouts set up a system to request and receive donations
public at the nature reserve's environmental education centre.
Here they erected trestle tables and established a production
line for making, wrapping and boxing the sandwiches.
Despite the fire fighting efforts of over two hundred fire
fighting personnel, thirty fire fighting vehicles and aerial
support from five helicopters and three crop sprayers, the
fire, fuelled by a strong South East wind, burned eleven houses
and a country hotel to the ground, destroyed large tracts
of indigenous vegetation and damaged farming infrastructure
and forestry plantations.
The scouts in the Helderberg District, who make frequent
use of the nature reserve for outdoor activities and overnight
hikes, were grateful for the opportunity to assist the reserve
staff who are always proving assistance and free access to
scouts groups wishing to make use of the reserve facilities.
It is going to be a while before the reserve recovers from
this fire and can once again be seen as the local playground
for the Scouts of the Helderberg District.