Integrated Fire Management extends its influence in Brazil
Amid growing warnings that destructive wildland fires will increase in frequency and intensity across the globe, Integrated Fire Management (IFM) company, Kishugu, has expanded its services to Brazil – which has been identified as one of the world’s most fire-prone countries.
Results from a recent climate change study, Future Projections of Fire Occurrence in Brazil – published last year by scientists from Brazil, Portugal and France – show that the country will experience “a systematic increase in extreme levels of fire danger throughout the 21st Century”. This will result mainly from an increase in maximum daily temperature, which is expected to rise by about 2°C between 2005 and 2100, says the study.
Already well established in South America, through its extensive services in Chile, Kishugu’s Working on Fire (WOF) brings to Brazil more than 20 years of experience in developing and implementing IFM in Africa, Australia and Asia.
WOF recently demonstrated its commitment to developing IFM in Brazil through its key sponsorship of the Aspex Bahia Florestal show. Aspex is the Association of Producers of Eucalyptus in Bahia, a province known for its extensive forestry industry.
During the show, WOF Brazil’s Finance Manager, Daniel Santos, delivered a presentation on fire detection and explained the value of the experience that WOF has accumulated over the past 22 years, and the global success the company has achieved.
“We were delighted by the opportunity to showcase WOF’s product and service offerings at this event and grow our footprint in South America,” said Andy Bays, WOF Brazil’s Managing Director. “We will be attending this exhibition again.”
WOF Brazil also recently completed a project with Eldorado in Mato Grosso du Sul for the installation of 11 cameras for fire detection.
IFM presents a major departure from conventional practices, which focuses mainly on reactive firefighting. Encompassing all aspects of fire management, IFM is becoming increasingly important as climate change makes many areas in the world hotter and drier and, therefore, more prone to unwanted wildfire.
Widely recognised as international best-practice, IFM provides a comprehensive chain of inter-linked services. These services range from fire awareness, prevention and early detection activities, to risk mapping, hazard identification, prescribed burning, resource sharing and coordination and dispatch of fire prevention and wildfire firefighting resources, damage rehabilitation and research.
Kishugu Holdings – the company behind Working on Fire International
Kishugu was founded in the highly fire-prone Mpumalanga province of South Africa in the mid-1990s by Johan Heine, a firefighting pilot, and Chris du Bruno Austin, a forester with great experience in ground-based firefighting.
In addition to securing contracts from public environmental conservation agencies and private companies mainly involved in forestry and agriculture, Kishugu was awarded a tender in 2003 to implement the South African Government’s Working on Fire (WOF) programme.
WOF now employs more than 5,000 fully trained, wildland and forest firefighters, who works in some 200 teams across South Africa, making it the country’s most successful rural job creation and skills development initiative. Globally, WOF employs close to 7,000 wildland firefighters.
With operations and projects on five continents, Kishugu is systematically expanding its international footprint. It is backed by eight subsidiaries, which collectively makes up the IFM value chain: Kishugu Training (specialises in Fire Management and Incident Command System (ICS) training), Kishugu Clothing (a supplier of Personal Protective Clothing (PPC)), Westline Aviation Group (a supplier of aerial firefighting, aircraft maintenance and aviation training), Working on Fire, ProcurePoint (a supplier of firefighting, mining, agricultural and industrial equipment), Kishugu Non-Profit Company (a company focussed on community upliftment and fire awareness) and Kishugu Fleet (supplier of fleet management services).
“We protect millions of hectares of forests and grasslands for governments, forestry companies and commercial land owners,” says de Bruno Austin. Kishugu has also aligned its activities with the United Nations’ initiatives to combat climate change and other fire prevention and firefighting systems.
A major development has been Kishugu’s adoption of the international Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a systematic, proactive approach, guiding organisations at all levels of government and the private sector to prepare for, prevent, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of the cause, size, location or complexity.