Who We Are
Wildfires are a part of life in the Western Cape and every fire season, agencies in the Cape Peninsula, the Overberg, the Cape Winelands and as far afield as the Cedarberg respond to thousands of fires, stretching resources to the limit.
The Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS), a group of some 250 volunteer wildland firefighters, deploy from four fire bases – Newlands, Jonkershoek, South Peninsula and Grabouw – to provide much-needed support to the likes of CapeNature, Table Mountain National Park, Overberg District Municipality and Winelands District Municipality, fighting some of the most destructive wildfires Cape Town and the Western Cape have experienced.
With the exception of a full-time employed general manager, the VWS is staffed, run and managed by committed people who all have day jobs. Many of the VWS’ deployments are at night, providing welcome relief for day-time fire crews, but once a VWS crew comes off the line, it’s back to base, home for a shower and maybe an hour or so of sleep, before heading for a full day at work or in the lecture hall.
For the VWS to do its work, it needs money, which makes fund-raising a critical focus when its members are off the line. A registered non-profit organisation, the VWS relies on the support of the communities it serves, to be able to do what it does best: fight wildland fires.