Franschhoek fire still raging

2010-02-08 16:43

Franschhoek - The Franschhoek pass was still closed because of the widespread fire and it was unclear when it would be re-opened, a Working on Fire spokesperson said on Monday.

The spokesperson said that two helicopters and five teams were fighting the widespread blaze, but helicopters could not resort to water-bombing because of the thick smoke in the area.

The fire came close to several farms on Sunday, but the teams managed to get the raging blaze under control before any damage was done.

The battle to douse the flames would continue until dark when an assessment would take place and further plans would be discussed.

Earlier CapeNature warned motorists to stay clear of the Franschhoek 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.

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.

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