The Western Cape’s wildfires and firefighters in photos


Temperatures are rising world wide, elevating the spectre of large wildfires that put farmlands, parks and other people residing on the city interface in danger. Whereas these caught within the chaos run for his or her lives, firefighters battle the flames, doing what they will to cease the unfold. Justin Sullivan joins the battle within the Western Cape.

firefighters western cape

Hearth is an exquisite phenomenon to {photograph} however taking photographs on the fireline is extremely difficult,ʼ says award-winning documentary photographer and conservationist Justin Sullivan.

ʻHaving the correct situational consciousness is important, particularly when youʼre kitted out in full fireplace gear – which you need to do to be protected – simply with the ability to see the place you might be, the place the crews are, the place the hazard is coming from…attempting to handle that, with the extreme warmth, with the wind, with all these parts at play, after which attempting to create artwork below these situations… itʼs very difficult.

ʻIʼve had quite a few shut calls and been in some very furry conditions, run- ning by means of flames, stepping in ash pits, had helicopters drop water on me (it might sound relieving however 2.5 tons is
not a light-weight bathe), my carʼs bonnet caught fireplace as soon as.

ʻBut 99% of these moments have been as a result of I made dangerous calls, human error. Hearth doesnʼt actively exit to attempt to harm you; for those who get harm itʼs likely your fault.ʼ Usually, photographers shut out the surface world as soon as they give the impression of being by means of the viewfider. However, on a fire- line, the place issues change in seconds, that equals hazard.

ʻThe second I caught my eye to theviewfinder, I used to be already in additional hazard than the fellows actively combating the fireplace,ʼ he says.

Justin was lured to photographing fires by the massive blazes in Cape City in 2015. He shortly noticed the influence his photographs had on social media. From there, his ardour grew. Today, his
work has taken him to the Lowveld of Mpumalanga.

ʻThere must be extra prevention on the subject of wildfires,ʼ he says. ʻSouth Africans love the bush, we love our wild areas, and the one approach weʼre going to have the ability to defend them is that if we
handle them appropriately.ʼ

Volunteer Wildlife Providers (VWS) crew had simply been deployed a couple of 100m away from the 12 Apostles lodge to guard the road. 80km wind gusts would mild up the sky with embers and for essentially the most half, I used to be taking pictures blind, battling to see by means of my goggles that had been clogged up with the combination of hose water and mud.


firefighters western cape


firefighters western cape

A VWS Crew chief tasked himself with dampening previous stumps burning, being lit up solely by the fireplace beneath him, I like the environment created – One can nearly really feel the temperature. Simonsberg, 2017.


Wind adjustments every thing. It had been a comparatively calm day for this VWS crew, when a sudden wind change whipped up the fireline, chasing it down the mountain in the direction of the vineyards. Little flames grew quickly however the workforce was capable of escape to their protected zone. 


Burning veld on the slopes in Cape City’s Deer Park create a frightening scene – 2017.


‘I stand for documenting our reality, in an unseen world.’ Justin is an award-winning documentary photographer based mostly within the Better Kruger, South Africa – specialising in Conservation & Wildfires.

Sullivan continues to focus on the importance of the pure world and the animals that inhabit it; sparking inspiration for constructive change and safety.



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