Nica Richards

By Nica Richards


WATCH: Over 100 firefighters working to quell Tsitsikamma blaze

Working on Fire Eastern Cape said two fires, one in the Coldstream area and the other in Witelsbos, melded into one, and that it is still being brought under control.

More than 100 firefighters from the Eastern and Southern Cape have banded together to quell a fire that started in the Tsitsikamma area on Monday morning. 

According to Working on Fire (WoF) Eastern Cape general manager Phumza Dyantyi, two fires, one in the Coldstream area and the other in Witelsbos, melded into one.

Dyantyi said there were eight WoF teams assisting SANParks and the Eastern Cape Umbrella Fire Protection Association to quell the blaze, which has so far forced the N2 highway to close. 

Air support was also due to be deployed.

The Eastern Cape is at the start of its first fire season, which starts in June and ends in October. The summer fire season in the province starts in December and ends in April.

ALSO READ: Garden Route national parks one year after Knysna fires

Plett Beach Watch said on Monday morning the Tsitsikamma tollgate was closed, but was due to reopen one lane, for commuters to use the R102 towards Coldstream. 

WoF urged community members, motorists and landowners to remain vigilant at all times, and to report any flare-ups. 

According to the South African Weather Service, the Garden Route district reported a particularly intense fire danger index last week, which was predicted to last from Saturday to Tuesday. 

In nearby central Karoo, the fire danger index is expected to decrease in intensity by Tuesday, but flare up slightly again on Thursday. 

In June 2017, nearby Knysna and Plettenberg Bay was ravaged by devastating fires.

This after a smouldering underground fire caused by a lightning strike occurred several weeks before, and turned into an inferno by being fuelled by strong winds.

Seven people died, hundreds were left homeless, and countless amounts of flora and fauna perished. 

In addition, the fires cost municipalities billions in health, environmental, agriculture and human settlement costs

Updates to follow as more information is made available.

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