Forestry Officials soon to stop unwanted fires through training
As the world reels from the impact of more and more unwanted wildfires, a team of dedicated facilitators in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, is training a new army of highly skilled forestry officials to stop their world from going up in flames.
Last month 14 delegates from SADC (The Southern African Development Community), along with the two observers from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – Jun Kajigaki and Katsuro Saito – joined the force of more than 30,000 graduates since Kishugu Training’s inception in 2003.
The ‘Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forest Resources in Southern Africa’ project is funded by the Japan Forest Technology Association (JAFTA) and managed by JICA. This training session aims to equip officials to guide SADC countries on Prescribed Burning Operations in their countries.
“Our training is critical in the struggle to reduce the devastating impact of unwanted wildfires. We are in conversation with JICA to bring more SADC officials to our Academy,” says Willie Buchner, CEO of Kishugu Training.
The training comes against a background, according to wildfire experts, that runaway wildfires are no longer exceptional but has now become the new ‘standard’. It has become more and more apparent from Chile to Portugal, Australia, Arizona, California and Indonesia that, hand-in-hand with Climate Change, is unwanted wildfires.
Chief Instructor Frederick Zondagh prepared the delegates theoretically for the simulations and practical assessments on the first two training days. “We are privileged to have a trainer who is not only specialised when it comes to Prescribed Burning but is also extremely informative and helpful”, said Kishore Sooke from Mauritius.
The first practical session commenced on Thursday, 20 July 2017 at Kishugu Training’s Breakthrough Academy. Delegates were in the field to plan the prescribed burns for the following day. “On Friday, overall conditions were favourable, and the participants had an extremely successful burning day, showing good technique,” said logistics coordinator, Tanya de Villiers.
Jean-Paul Ngalamulume from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) stated “Forest Fire Management is a challenge in the DRC due to its sheer size. I do not doubt this course will resolve many problems and prove to be helpful.”
Kishugu Training is South Africa’s leading provider of fire and incident management related training. “We provide customised training to suit our clients’ needs while ensuring that industry related operation standards, procedures and policies are maintained,” said Willie Buchner.
Kishugu Training offers specialised training to individuals as well as corporate and governmental departments in industries ranging from forestry, agriculture and conservation to safety and security. “A key differentiator is our ability to cut through literacy, culture, language and industry barriers, ensuring a high course completion rate,” said Willie Buchner.
All arrangements are in place for the next group of trainees from Namibia, Malawi, Botswana and other neighbouring countries, who arrive shortly.