Help us continue conserving our natural heritage

Play Video

Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) has been combating dangerous and sometimes deadly runaway fires since it's baptism through the devastating fires in 1999 / 2000 in Cape Town.

With approximately 220 members at four stations (Newlands, Jonkershoek, South Peninsula and the newly developing Grabouw Station), VWS is a highly organised Non Profit Organisation, fully run and managed by volunteers. VWS has assisted the Table Mountain National Park, CapeNature, Overberg District Municipality and Winelands District Municipality with some of the wildest fires Cape Town and the Western Cape have experienced.

Working closely with other emergency service organisations in wild-land fire management such as Table Mountain National Park, CapeNature, Cape Town Fire & Emergency Services, Disaster Management, Winelands Fire Brigade, Stellenbosch Fire Brigade, Overberg District Municipality and Working on Fire. This has meant that to date VWS has achieved over 56,000 active firefighting hours between its members and stations.

The Integrated Wildfire Management Services provided by VWS include:

  1. Wildfire suppression services
  2. Wildfire suppression and management training
  3. Education and awareness programmes
  4. Monitoring and active suppression during prescribed ecological burns

With the ongoing support of the community, VWS will continue its goal of saving and protecting South Africa’s natural heritage, property, lives and precious mountain water catchment areas.

How we operatemore_vert
How we operateclose

On standby to respond to fires and emergencies 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year – that’s how we work.

Our volunteers are just that – volunteers. They are extraordinary people who give of their time and energy to protect lives, property and our natural heritage. Most have day jobs, some are students, others run their own companies – but all are dedicated, motivated and highly-trained to ensure that our ultimate goal of wildfire suppression is taken care of.


There are various departments within the Volunteer Wildfire Services that operate dependently to ensure the smooth running of our unit. These departments include:

  • Fire Fighters
  • Drivers
  • Control Room
  • Planning and Mobile Command
  • Logistics and Catering
  • Technical and Mechanical Services
  • Administration and Member Services

As a completely Non Profit Organisation the VWS remains operational by receiving funding from a few small corporate sponsors and organisational partners (Table Mountain National Park and CapeNature) as well as individual donors. We also initiate our own fundraising projects, like the popular VWS Trail Challenge, the Jonkershoek Fire & Fynbos Awareness Day and the Newlands VWS Open Day. This vital funding allows us to continue to manage ourselves independently.

However, to remain operational, we are always on the lookout for additional funding that will allow us to further serve the communities that are threatened by wildfires as well as protect our natural heritage and the whole of Cape Town’s water catchment area. To find out how to help, see the How to Help page.

As a NPO company VWS is run by a Board of Directors that deals with the general and strategic direction of VWS as a whole. Whereas, all four stations have a dedicated Station Management Team that deals with the day to day operational matters and ensures that the members are well trained, equipped and operationally ready to respond at a moment’s notice throughout the year.

All Board and Management Teams are made up of volunteers from within our membership, none of whom receive any remuneration for their work on behalf of VWS. Therefore, all funds received and raised go directly towards VWS Operational costs.