Fire closes Franschhoek Pass

2010-02-08 16:15

Cape Town - The Franschhoek Pass was closed to traffic on Monday morning because of a fire which had been burning in the area since Friday.

CapeNature warned motorists in a statement to stay clear of the pass.

It said the blaze, reportedly started by workers using an open fire to cook food, had burned about 4 800 hectares of the Jonkershoek and Hottentots Holland nature reserves over the last four days.

CapeNature's operations director Fanie Bekker said 160 firefighters from his organisation and the Cape Winelands district municipality had been called in.

By midday on Monday the fire was approaching farms including Three Streams and Bordeaux.

Bekker said the hot weather and light wind meant thick smoke was covering the area, making it difficult for the helicopters to take-off.

"The cost implications are huge and have run into hundreds of thousands of rands, because of the extent of the fire," he said.