Monday, 31 December 2012

SAWDOS Holiday Alert 2012/2013: Setting off Fireworks and Chinese Lanterns!!

Detonation of Fireworks during New Years Eve and New Years Day festivities

The new year is apon us and many parties have been scheduled for later tonight. Many of these parties go hand in hand with the detonation of fireworks to celebrate the beginning of 2013.

Last year several fires were started as a result of the public detonating fireworks in areas of the Southern Cape. Now I hear you say "So what......we are having fun". This attitude is absolutely irresponsible. The SAWDOS would like to ask the public not to detonate fireworks in South Africa this year.  In Mossel Bay the detonation of fireworks are totally forbidden. Now this year the detonating of fireworks could have serious effects and could lead to run-away veld fires causing extensive damage. The Southern Cape experience a dry spell and vegetation is very dry.

Wildfires can cause major environmental, social and economic damages. The loss of plantations, wildlife habitat, homes and even lives may result from a devastating wildfire caused by fireworks. The wildfire that does not start is the one that does not have to be fought.

With the current fire risks across the Garden Route area due to dry conditions and increasing urbanization, now is the time to be more FIREWISE.

Chinese Lanterns during New Years Eve and New Years Day festivities

SAWDOS are appealing to the public not to set off Chinese Lanterns. Chinese Lanterns are made out of a balsa wood or thin wire frame, a paper shell and a candle in the centre. The candle is lit allowing the generation of heat to send the lantern skyward where it floats through the sky (similar to a hot air ballon) until the candle burns out and then the baloon falls to the ground.

Once Chinese Lanterns are set off they are usually abandoned by the people setting them off and are seldom, if ever, followed by their owners to be properly disposed of wherever they land. It is widely believed to be near impossible to predict what they will do or where they will go once set off as they are at the mercy of the elements of the weather and wind conditions.

Chinese Lanterns are often mistaken by eye-witnesses as red distress flares. They are also feared to be a fire hazard – if they are caught in the wind and land in trees or dry grass fields or on buildings while the candle is still burning.

SAWDOS and the NSRI strongly believe that, based on the potential risks that chinese lanterns may pose and based on the number of false alarms that the NSRI respond to, which turn out to be chinese lanterns mistaken to be red distress flares, that the practice of setting off chinese lanterns, into the sky, is irresponsible behavior and should not be practiced.

Do not detonate fireworks or set off Chinese Lanterns!!

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