News24

Fire was 'like Judgement Day'

2012-02-01 09:03

Cape Town - Seven helicopters roared through the mountains near Wellington on Tuesday as all available firefighters concentrated their efforts on saving farms from a fire that has been raging since Saturday morning.

The fire consumed all in its path, including several houses, wild animals that did not get away in time, and about 4 450 hectares of fynbos. Some residents had to flee their homes without their possessions.

National government regarded the situation serious enough to allow two Oryx air force helicopters to be flown in to help.

Flared up

Monday night was “like Judgement Day”, said Hermie Visser, a firefighting chief, after they tried in vain to protect wooden houses in the Steenbokpark private camp site in Bainskloof from the flames.

The fire then turned and moved over another mountain, this time the Limietberg between Wellington and Tulbagh. This fire had started in the Slanghoek valley on Saturday and was supposedly under control. But then the fire flared up and spread to Bainskloof, where a house was destroyed.

On Monday the fire could be managed in the mountain but during the night the flames headed for Limietberg, said Visser.

Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) firefighting chief Danie Wilds said by Tuesday night about 4 450 hectares of fynbos had been destroyed.

Two lines of fire were on Tuesday still being monitored by 40 firefighters from different teams.

“We won’t leave the area unguarded until we feel everything is safe,” assured Wilds.

Helicopters

On Tuesday two helicopters from Working on Fire and three contract helicopters from the district municipality were still on duty.

By 11:00 the air force gave permission for the use of the two Oryx helicopters.

The seven water carriers dealt the flames a powerful blow but deep in the mountains, the fire was still out of control.

The sound of helicopters in the air, at times up to four or five at the same time, was reminiscent of a war scene from the film Platoon. On the game farm, Bontebok Ridge, the blue wildebeest fled from the noise in a herd, unaware that the machines were probably responsible for saving their lives.

Working on Fire spokesperson Leanne McKrill said on Tuesday evening that the fire was still raging. Teams of firefighters had been deployed on both sides of the mountain at Bainskloof.

White smoke, charred mountains and the occasional flame were still apparent after the fire that raged in Bainskloof over the weekend, reported Richard Roberts.

The fire next to the R301 forced traffic officials to close the road. Outside Antoniesvlei, motorists were sent back to Wellington.

Some people had to leave their homes, animals were burnt to death and at Steenbokpark, only ash and burnt out tin sheets remained of 18 wooden houses.

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Comments
  • Chris - 2012-02-01 09:15

    God bless all the firefighters who constantly put their lives on the line to save us all.

      jody.beggs - 2012-02-01 09:52

      What's God to do with this ? If there was a hand of God he'd have stopped the fire. Damn the man.

      Yaseen - 2012-02-01 11:35

      Jody, look around you... God is everywhere Do the blades of grass get green on their own? Who feeds the millions of bids and fish and insects and animals? The sun rises and sets on whos order? Simple eyes that we dont appreciate, better than any camera man has ever made. Who created the eye? The eye can scan any think in a milli second, transmit the exact colour. If you cant see God, u can atleast see the beauty of God... everywhere

      jody.beggs - 2012-02-01 15:39

      @Yaseen yes I see beauty but I don't see a hand of a creator , but evolution and time. If you are told that God created everything that's fine you can believe it , but it certainly doesn't make him real ! If a God botherer can comment about God then I can comment about the validity of that comment. Just like everyone else. By the way , if that is your only evidence you need to stop living 2000 years ago. Damn the man.

  • Nazeem - 2012-02-01 10:32

    @Jody,why does GOD have to stop the fire?

      jody.beggs - 2012-02-01 15:40

      To prove his existence. To interact with his creations , to save lives and reason he interacted with peasant's in the old testament. Any proof will do thanks , not happy feeling and group reading's out the Bible. Damn the man.

  • Shimmer - 2012-02-01 13:00

    I was there at Bastianskloof on Saturday when the fire started and we were evacuated at about midnight. It was absolutely devastating to see the blaze spreading so quickly. @ Jody....at a time like this we all need to hold onto something to know that things happen for a reason - it could be a wake up call or just God's way of letting things grow/start over again. What ever happened in your life, I wonder, to make you such a non believer.

      jody.beggs - 2012-02-01 15:48

      @Shimmer you must be new to news24. Psycho babel from the bible doesn't work here, only evidence and debate. Fine you need something to hold onto , don't you want to know if its true or not ? Do you believe the world is only 6000 years old ? Do you know what the church has done in God's name ? (Murder , rape , Genocide , infanticide etc) Do you take the whole book literally , or break it into parts that can be taken literally and some not ?(Adam and Eve , Noah's arc etc) Religion is just a spin on human emotions and doesn't explain anything about the world or universe ! Or at least in a realistic manner . Damn the man.

  • jody.beggs - 2012-02-01 15:52

    By the way what does God have to do with a fire ? Damn the man.

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