DEPARTMENT OF WATER AFFAIRS AND FORESTRY
NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
PROPOSED FRAMEWORK ELEMENTS FOR VELDFIRES
Draft, 15 November 2002
REQUIREMENTS IN THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT BILL [NOW AN ACT]
1. The Disaster Management Bill requires the Minister of Provincial and Local Government to prescribe a national disaster management framework, taking into account:
a. any recommendations of the Inter-governmental Committee on Disaster Management, as to be established by the statute; this Committee will include Cabinet members, MECs, and representatives of organised local government, and is accountable and must report to Cabinet on the co-ordination of disaster management among the spheres of government.
b. comments by the public.
2. The Bill is to establish a National Disaster Management Advisory Forum consisting officials of national and provincial government departments, representatives of organised local government, representatives of other disaster management role-players such as from organised business, the Chamber of Mines, organised labour, traditional leaders, and other sectors; the Bill requires this Forum among other things to make recommendations concerning the national disaster management framework to the Inter-governmental Committee on Disaster Management.
3. The Working Group on Fire is de facto a sub-committee of the Forum, advising the precursor to the Forum (the IDMC [Interim Disaster Management Centre]) on veldfire management.
4. The Bill requires the national disaster management framework to provide a coherent, transparent and inclusive policy on disaster management appropriate for the Republic as a whole.
5. The framework is to reflect a proportionate emphasis on disasters of different kinds, severity and magnitude that occur or may occur in southern Africa, and place emphasis on measures that reduce the vulnerability of disaster-prone areas, communities and households.
6. In addition it is to:
a. guide the development and implementation of disaster management envisaged by this Act;
b. establish prevention and mitigation as the core principles of disaster management;
i. South Africa’s co-operation in international disaster management;
d. give effect to the application of co-operative governance on issues concerning disasters and disaster management among the spheres of government and
ii. regional co-operation in disaster management in southern Africa; and
iii. the establishment of joint standards of practice;
i. determine the relationship between the sphere of government exercising primary responsibility for the co-ordination and management of a disaster in terms of sections 26(1), 40(1) and 54(1) or (2) and the spheres of government performing supportive roles;
e. guide the development and implementation of disaster management within national, provincial and municipal organs of state on a cross-functional and multi-disciplinary basis and allocate responsibilities in this regard to different organs of state;
ii. allocate specific responsibilities in this regard to the different spheres;
i. the involvement of the private sector, non-governmental organisations, traditional leaders, technical experts and volunteers in disaster management
g. facilitate disaster management capacity-building, training and education, including in schools, and provide incentives for such capacity-building, training and education;
ii. community participation in disaster management; and
iii. partnerships for purposes of subparagraphs (i) and (ii) between organs of state and the private sector, non-governmental organisations and communities;
h. promote disaster management research;
i. guide the development of a comprehensive information management system;
j. take into account indigenous knowledge relating to disaster management;
k. provide a framework within which organs of state may fund disaster management with specific emphasis on preventing or reducing the risk of disasters, including grants to contribute to post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation and payment to victims of disasters and their dependants;
l. address the requirements for co-operation and co-ordination between the different spheres of government, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and communities; and
m. provide key performance indicators in respect of the various aspects of disaster management.
The National Veld and Forest Fire Act
7. The National Veld and Forest Fire Act provides for a comprehensive system for veldfire management in South Africa, with its principal provisions being:
CHAPTER 2: FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATIONS
· Formation of fire protection associations
· Registration of fire protection associations
· Duties of fire protection associations
· Fire protection officers
· Financial and other assistance
· De-registration of fire protection associations
CHAPTER 3: FIRE DANGER RATING
· Fire danger rating
· Communication of fire danger rating
· Delegation of powers and duties
CHAPTER 4: VELDFIRE PREVENTION THROUGH FIREBREAKS
· Duty to prepare and maintain firebreaks
· Requirements for firebreaks
· Firebreaks on borders of Republic
· Exemption from duty to prepare and maintain firebreaks
· Exemption from prohibitions on damaging plants
CHAPTER 5: FIRE FIGHTING
· Readiness for fire fighting
· Actions to fight fires
· Agreements for mutual assistance
8. The provisions for Fire Protection Associations (FPAs) provide for voluntary local organisation among owners of land for collaborative veldfire management.
9. The fire danger rating system is to be a tool for early warning of dangerous veldfire conditions as well as for the planning of veldfire management.
10. Chapters 4 and 5 are the basis for statutory minimum requirements for the prevention of wildfires in areas at risk from wildfires.
11. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has developed and is applying a systematic programme for the implementation of the Act and the regulations to support it, including:
a. An approach based on the integrated management of veldfires as a basis for managing the risk that they constitute, where there is such a risk; this means that the Act must be applied where the level of veldfire risk justifies its application, but not otherwise;
b. A broad risk assessment is being used to classify all local municipalities and metropoles according to veldfire risk; this is to guide the implementation of the Act and to set priorities for the establishment of FPAs
c. A systematic approach to facilitating the establishment of FPAs as the principal institutions for veldfire management is supported by a well defined business process and a standards guideline for the FPA business plan (plan to fulfil the duties set out in Section 5 of the Act), this latter incorporating a veldfire risk management standard as the basis for the development and application of the veldfire management strategy for an FPA area (Section 5(1)(a) of the Act), supported through pilots in seven regions through the Working on Fire programme;
d. Short-term research to develop fire danger regions, to choose among available models or formulae to calculate fire danger indices, the definition of fire danger ratings, and the threshold index values for the ratings for each fire danger region;
e. Policies to support the implementation of each chapter of the Act
f. Supporting information systems
g. Training of functionaries.
Fitting veldfire management into the National Disaster Management Framework
12. Table 1 outlines linkages between the requirements for the National Disaster Management Framework and the National Veld and Forest Fire Act with the instruments being developed for its implementation.
13. The draft table of contents that follows below indicates how the veldfire component of the National Disaster Management Framework could be formulated, as a basis for discussion.
Draft table of contents for the national framework for veldfire management
Outline of the approach to the veldfire management framework. Linkage with other policy instruments, such as the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, IDPs [integrated development plans], the National Action Programme to Combat Land Degradation, bioregional conservation plans, etc.
Veldfires as an environmental management problem and the integrated veldfire management approach.
2. National veldfire risk assessment
Municipality-level veldfire risk classification and map. Identification of low-risk areas not requiring statutory veldfire management. Linkage with national disaster vulnerability atlas.
Summary of overall risk levels and assets (social, economic, environmental) that are vulnerable.
Outline of capacity to manage veldfires.
3. Minimum standards for preventing and combating veldfires
Firebreaks, personnel and equipment etc (Chapters 4 and 5 of the Act); linkage with national risk assessment, framework for local determination of minimum standards within FPA business plans.
4. The national fire danger rating system
Delineation of danger rating regions; linkage with risk mapping (no danger rating regions required in region with low risk).
Definition of five categories of danger. Designation of fire danger model for calculating indicator values (index).
Determination of threshold indicator values for each category for each danger rating region.
5. Fire Protection Associations
Guiding schedule for establishment, according to priorities from the national risk map.
Outline of standards in guide to the FPA business plan. Includes requirements for property level integrated veldfire management plans as well as the communal management plan of the FPA.
Outline or procedures and roles and responsibilities for formation and registration of FPAs and registration of FPOs [fire protection officers].
6. Management, coordination and partnerships
Guidelines for incident management.
Guidelines for incident co-ordination.
Roles and responsibilities: statutory, in the FPA, others.
7. National information systems
The Veldfire Information System and the Fire Protection Association Registration Management System (FPARMS). Upward cascading of information from FPA annual reports. Linkage with local, provincial and national Disaster Management Centres.
8. Veldfire research
Outline of DWAF, Working on Fire research programme. Possibility of Innovation Fund.
9. Training and education
Roles and responsibilities.
Curricula and standards.
10. SADC and Africa
An outline of current and future international activities such as the Regional Subsahara Africa Wildland Fire Network (Afrifirenet), initiatives in SADC [Southern African Development Community] and NEPAD [New Partnership for Africa’s Development]; implications of SADC Forestry Protocol and other SADC agreements.
Outline approach for working through SADC, NEPAD.
Linkage with international agreements, e.g. UNCCD [United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification], UNCBD [United Nations Convention on Biodiversity].
An outline of current and future international activates, e.g. links with the Global Fire Monitoring Centre, an Activity of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
12. Monitoring, evaluation and improvement
Key Performance Indicators: At national level, KPIs in terms of:
At the local level, the FPA business plan guide will contain KPIs.
- implementation timetable
- establishment of FPAs
- management of catastrophic veldfires
Minister's Annual Report
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Definition of all relevant terms.
Table 1. Linkages between the requirements for the National Disaster Management Framework and the National Veld and Forest Fire Act with the instruments being developed for its implementation
[open the file attachment on the right hand side of the screen for this table]
Note: Open the file by clicking on the icon. You can save it to your hard drive by going 'save as' from the file menu. Alternatively, right click on the icon and choose 'save as' or 'save target as'.