The fighting of any fire is a dangerous activity, and as such specialised groups have formed that undertake to extinguish specific kinds of fires, such as ship fires, house / structural fires, oil refinery fires, and in our case, vegetation fires.
More people are killed and injured fighting vegetation fires than any other type of fire, and this is usually due to the many hidden dangers, but also because many wildfire fighters are inexperienced, or have not received the correct training. Almost every Municipal or District Fire Fighting Department has the ability to assist to some degree with wildfire fighting. While it is part of their mandate, they usually rely on specialised groups to work when the fire is far from the roads, such as in the mountains or heavy bush.
Most conservation organisations (South African National Parks, CapeNature, etc) have trained staff and contract workers who provide the ground teams to fight the fires. Other organisations, such as the national Working on Fire project employ previously disadvantaged members from the community and provide them with skills and a basic wage, usually for a three year period.
There is a growing trend for members of the public wanting to assist in the physical act of fire fighting, and the formation of volunteer groups has started to increase over the past 3 years. These groups usually align themselves with a formal organisation, and are required to set high safety and efficiency standards, to be seen as an asset, and not a liability.