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VELDFIRES: THE CALAMITY THAT KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES

Helping land users and communities
manage wildfire risks

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You, Veldfires and the Law

Many of the legal duties of landowners are found in the NVFFA (National Veld and Forest Fire Act) and they include things like needing to have firebreaks, equipment to fight wildfires, having trained personnel available to fight wildfires, and not being allowed to start wildfires (which is kind of a no-brainer).Aside from those regulations (which are just a few) you also have to deal with something called a “presumption of negligence”.In simple terms, the presumption of negligence (in relation to wildfires) says that if someone claims damages from you for a wildfire that started on your land and badly affected them, you get assumed negligent (meaning careless or neglectful).It is then up to you to prove otherwise unless you are part of an FPA. Then they have to prove that you are guilty.The key takeaway here is: private land users aren't forced to be part of an FPA, but it seriously helps in terms of all the “legal stuff” and can even save you from some extremely uncomfortable situations.

How to Join MAFPA

We used to have the registration process (aka, the signing up to become a member) done in pen and paper at specific places. It was a lot of work! Now you can easily do it from home, online. All you have to do is:

  1. Head to our home page (the first place you see when you type in “mafpa.co.za”) and click on the “REGISTER NOW” button.
  2. Fill in your details. (Be sure to read our conditions of membership and the rules for MAFPA members, as well as our website's privacy policy and terms and conditions.)
  3. Click “REGISTER”
  4. Almost there. You now have access to your own dashboard and MAFPA has sent you an email to verify your email address. Go into your email and follow the directions to verify that it's you.
  5. Add in your property (or properties, as many as you have.)
  6. An invoice has now been automatically generated. Pay the invoice (click here to see our MAFPA membership fees).
  7. Your membership application has been sent to our admin team. It may take a few days for you to get approval, but once you do you will get a downloadable membership certificate available on your MAFPA dashboard.

Once you have completed the steps, congratulations! You are now an official MAFPA member. You can now go about your business or, if you have some questions, click here to browse our FAQ section.

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FDI Impact Description Landscape

This is the Fire Danger Index (FDI) for this week.
Here's how it works: Blue and green are generally safe days and, though care should always be taken around fire, things are far less likely to get out of hand. Blue or green days are often good days for controlled burns.
Take extra care around fires on yellow days, and you should not do any controlled burns when the rating is above 55. Signs of fire should be reported immediately.
Orange and red days are extremely dangerous. Every person should take extreme care with and around fire/fire causing things. Any signs of smoke or fire should be reported immediately.
This daily FDI is calculated by SAWS. We recommend checking on their website if you need the estimated FDI for a longer time span.

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'FPA-Manager-Toolbox' 2.0 the wildland fire risk managing tool for landowners

The FPA-Manager-Toolbox was designed by FSUFPA with the purpose of helping land users become FPA compliant.It combines land management, risk assessments, profile management, facilitates the administration of multiple organizations under a single master account, generates invoices, tracks progress and calculates membership fees, all in one convenient, easy to use web app for landowners.

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What is an FPA and why you should care

An FPA (that stands for Fire Protection Association) is an organization that helps land users manage wildfire risks. All FPAs have to go through A LOT of legal processes to even be registered as an FPA. An FPA is only legally seen as an FPA if it's registered with the Department of Forestry Fisheries And the Environment(and that is a complicated process).The great part about FPAs is how they matter to pretty much everybody. It's not just managing wildfire risk; it's protecting the environment and saving lives. To our members, you get benefits and help that you cannot get anywhere else, and to our volunteers, you get to be part of something that makes a difference. A real difference. This is what an FPA is, and this is why you should care.

Have questions? We're here to help.

There are a number of reasons why MAFPA is the best choice, from legal benefits if someone tries to sue you for a fire, to assistance if your land catches fire, let's take a look.
If you have land of any kind, a small plot, or a big and booming farm, MAFPA helps protect you and your family. There are so many requirements placed on landowners for firefighting and fire management alone; we aren't here to solve all your problems, but we can help. We strongly believe that planning makes all the difference, even preventing disaster. It's in our slogan: "Prepare. Prevent. Protect."
Wildfires are no joke. And they affect everyone. MAFPA is the Fire Protection Association (FPA) for the greater Mangaung area. Our boundaries stretch from Soutpan in the North to Vanstadensrus in the South and from Thaba Nchu mountain in the East to DeBrug in the West. If you live on, own, or even rent land in this area you can become a MAFPA member and get benefits and privileges you can literally only get by being an FPA member. Click here to know more about MAFPA member benefits and privileges.

First, being a member of MAFPA means no excuses.
There are many benefits to being a MAFPA member, such as: FPAs help members fulfil their legal responsibilities and provide advice and guidance, they help landowners communicate and even support with resources if necessary. Section 34 of the National Veld and Forest Fire Act. (Veldfire act) says that a person who is not a member of an FPA is deemed to have acted negligently in terms of the Veldfire act unless they can prove otherwise. A member is deemed to not have been negligent until proven otherwise. A member of MAFPA is subject to the rules and regulations of MAFPA and not the generic regulations of the Veldfire act. A MAFPA member has access to WoF teams. You are also part of a well-developed fire management structure to support landowners.

Fees are charged yearly for membership from the 1st of April to 31st of March the following year.
Urban-Rural Transition Area (e.g., Wildlife Estates, conservancies, smallholdings, industrial and estate development properties, and any land within the urban area that may be subject to the National Veld and Forest Fire Act) rate: Five Rand (R 5.00) per hectare with a minimum levy of fifty (R 50.00) each year.
Rural Area (all areas where land is primarily used for agricultural activities and/or that occur outside the Urban or urban transition zone) rate: Fifty cents (R0. 50) per hectare with a minimum levy of R250.00 each year.

Basically, an FPA is the legal platform available to communities so that they can manage their shared veldfire risk. It's a very, very complex system with many moving parts and many people and organizations involved. There must be a well-thought-out structure and there are some key role players like the FPO (Fire Protection Officer), the FPA manager, the CFO (chief fire officer, who is also sometimes the FPO), and, of course, the members. FPAs are given many duties by the NVFFA (National Veld and Forest Fire Act) like making and applying a wildfire management strategy for its area, giving training, and so on and so forth. To fulfil all these requirements there needs to be a lot of coordination and communication, and since FPAs are only sustainable over very large areas they need to be broken up into districts or Fire Management Areas (FMAs), with representatives for each. FPAs help their members fulfil their legal responsibilities and provide invaluable advice and guidance, they help landowners communicate and even give support with some resources. FPAs should be organized, help to get more people involved and aid land users in making smart decisions because fires don't respect boundaries. With a good structure, different role-players and a good bit of communication and coordination, an FPA can work quite well.

A lot of people who live in a rural setting feel that this is unfair, often because they think that people who live in cities (where there is a fire service) just have their fires killed, should it be needed. That's true, but what they don't know is that the person whose property is on fire gets an account from the fire brigade for everything. Every kilometre that the fire brigade travelled, every litre of water that they used, every hour that their personnel was there. Everything.
The National Veld and Forest Fire Act makes it clear that the landowner is responsible for preventing fires from starting and spreading from their ground. A land user must make sure that they have people and tools available to fight that fire and to prevent it from spreading to any adjoining land. If they cannot do this, they must contract someone else to do so on their behalf. A lot of people think that someone else should come and fight fires, but the truth is that, legally, people on whose land a fire is burning must bear the costs. There is no difference between rural people and people in the cities when it comes to bearing the cost of firefighting.