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T-minus one week to International Firefighters Day

Celebrated on 4 May annually, International Firefighters Day recognises and honours the sacrifices of firefighters to save lives and property. This year is particularly significant for Cape Town’s firefighters, who have had arguably their busiest summer on record.

International Firefighters Day comes at a time of year when Cape Town’s summer season is winding down.

 This summer has proven to be one of the most challenging – hot, dry and extremely windy conditions contributed to a 28% increase in vegetation fires, compared to the same period the previous year.

 The number of overall incidents went up by 15%.



Oct 2020 – 21 April 2021

Oct 2021 – 21 April 2022

Oct 2022 – 21 April 2023

Oct 2023 – 21 April 2024

Overall incidents

15 527

17 390

17 570

20 164

Vegetation fires

8 271

8 649

8 217

10 507

Informal residential fires

1 024

1 332

1 418

1 335

Formal residential fires


1 042

1 061

1 004

 Each summer, the City contracts the services of aerial support craft – two helicopters and a spotter plane.

 During the summer of 2022/23, the helicopters logged 68 hours and the spotter plane 38.

 Preliminary indications are that since 1 December 2023, the helicopters logged at least 280 hours, and the spotter plane 132 hours.

 ‘The fire statistics confirm what we all know – that this has been one of the busiest summer periods on record. And, while, the number of residential fires saw a slight decrease, it is cold comfort to those who lost loved ones and everything they owned. Throughout the challenges, our firefighters have stood tall, and I applaud their bravery and commitment. The City will continue to invest in our Fire and Rescue Service for the benefit of our residents, but also those wearing the uniform and working hard to help keep everyone safe,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.


 Over the past few years, the Fire & Rescue Service has held a series of very successful open days at a number of fire stations, where members of the public could visit on the day to learn more about firefighting, fire safety and to get a closer look at the fire engines, equipment etc.

 As the day falls on a Saturday this year, the Service is putting on a single event that is free to all, at the Athlone Stadium.

 Date: Saturday, 4 May 2024

Time: 09:30 – 16:00

Venue: Athlone Stadium, Corner of Cross Boulevard and Klipfontein Road

 Visitors will be treated to a firefighter fitness challenge, vehicle rescue demonstrations, fire prevention awareness and static displays.

 They can even participate in firefighting drills with staff and have their picture taken in fire gear.

 ‘It has been a long, hot and busy summer and what better way to show our firefighters some love and appreciation, and have a good time to boot. I encourage everyone to bring their families and friends, and come out and share in this very special commemorative day. It’s not often that our firefighters have enough downtime to really engage with the public, and so this is a really good opportunity to learn more about them, and just have some fun,’ added Alderman Smith.

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