Raging fires ravage Western Cape

Devastating fires continued to spread through parts of the Western Cape this week, with some areas being declared red zones.

The Western Cape has again been ravaged by fires, displacing people and destroying homes.

On Monday, multiple fires in the Hangklip-Kleinmond area were reported, including in Pringle Bay, Hangklip, the Kleinmond crossing and Silversands Beach in Betty’s Bay.

Overstrand Mayor Annelie Rabie posted on Facebook that with the wind picking up and the fire not under control, people in Silversands were evacuated and a code red was declared. A code red refers to a fire that poses an immediate threat to the safety of people and structures. Residents returned home later that night.

Eskom infrastructure was damaged and several homes were gutted.

On Tuesday, with the fire spreading rapidly, a full evacuation order was given for the entire Pringle Bay. Residents have since been able to return to their homes.

“The most important thing is that the evacuation of Pringle Bay has been lifted. That means people can return to their homes, but they should please remain vigilant,” Rabie said on Tuesday evening.

At the time, four active fire lines were being attended to by firefighters.

Yesterday, the initial fireline spread towards Betty’s Bay and the predicted wind change caused the fireline to change direction to Pringle Bay. The fire threatened properties along the R44 as it continued towards Brodie Link. The fireline spread to properties, but no structures were lost.

Approximately 800ha was burnt at that stage.

Hangklip Road fire

This morning, Overstrand Municipal Manager Dean O’Neill said the Hangklip Road fire has been contained.

“Currently, there are no active firelines but the fires remain hot and can flare up any time. The evacuation of properties has been lifted and people can return to their homes,” said O’Neill

“Overnight teams continued with mopping-up operations throughout the night. No flare-ups were observed, though there are a lot of hot spots in the black that create embers.

“Incoming teams will continue with mop-up throughout the day.”

He also said that in Ceasar Road there are no active lines, but one or two hotspots inside the black. In Brodie Links, there are no active lines, but there is smouldering of unburnt vegetation within the perimeter, and in Clarence Drive, there are no active lines and no signs of any hotspots.

“Approximately 800ha have burnt thus far,” he added.

Buffeljag fire remains out of control

This morning, the Buffeljag fire was still out of control.

“It continues to burn in dense vegetation, and approximately 7 500ha has burnt thus far,” said O’Neill.

Crews from Overstrand have been assisted by various bodies, including Cape Nature, the City of Cape Town, Swartland Municipality, Working on Fire (WOF), SAPS, George Municipality, Overberg District Municipality, SANParks, Volunteer Wildlife Services, NCC Wildfires, the provincial government and #goFPA.

Firefighting organisations collaborate

WOF posted on Facebook yesterday that WOF-Kishugu Joint Venture resources are collaborating with numerous firefighting organisations in multiple fire suppression operations across the province.

Yesterday alone, 59 firefighters, three aircraft and two transport buses were dispatched.

“Aerial resources took the skies, chasing daylight and providing crucial support to on-the-ground crews.”

Various organisations and people shared updates, photos and videos of the fires:

Image: Working on Fire/Facebook.

On Tuesday, the Pringle Bay fire approached homes causing concern among homeowners:

 

Image: Working on Fire/Facebook.
Image: Overstrand Municipality/Facebook.
Image: Overstrand Municipality/Facebook.

 

 

 

Towards the end of December, a devasting fire raged through Simon’s Town, forcing evacuations and threatening wildlife.

Read original story on www.citizen.co.za

 
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