N2 near Sedgefield opened

2017-06-10 19:50
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Cape Town - At least 150 people have been evacuated this afternoon in the Fairview and Ganzvlei areas near Buffalo Bay just outside Knysna as a result of the fires which are still being fuelled by strong winds.

This is the fourth day that the Garden Route is experiencing destructive fires Netwerk24 reports.

On Saturday afternoon the N2 between Buffalo Bay and Sedgefield was closed for a time. At the eastern side of Sedgefield cars backed up and motorists got out to look at the clouds of smoke billowing over Karatara and Buffels Bay.

Traffic officials were kept busy explaining  alternative routes to motorists.

As a precautionary measure some people in Lake Brenton, Brenton-on-sea and Buffalo Bay were evacuated on Saturday.

At around 15:00 Eden disaster management announced that all the fire lines in and around Knysna had flared up again and were receiving attention. Reports have also been received about fires flaring up again in and around Plettenberg Bay.

The N2 between Sadegefield and Buffalo Bay was closed. Motorisits should use the alternative N9 route over Joubertina for trips between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth when the N2 is closed.

In Knysna itself Concordia, Rheenendal and White Location were evacuated earlier on Saturday. The JOC or Joint Operational Centre only has radio communication as all telephone lines are down.

Control fires which were burnt in the Sedgefield and Ruigtevlei area appear to have been successful and seem to have prevented fires spreading to Sedgefield.

Thirty years

In George a tree fell on the roof of the control room at the police station on Saturday morning, resulting in the temporary evacuation of the control room. A fire also occurred in the Maalgate (Whirlpool River) near George resulting in the evacuation of some people there. By lunchtime George airport confirmed it was operating normally.

At the community hall in Sedgefield donations of food, blankets and other items continued to stream in. Evacuees form Fairview and Ganzvlei have been housed in the school hall of the Sedgefield Primary school.

Muriel Baatjies (49) and her neighbour Abraham Kemoetie (66), both form Ganzvlei had to flee before the fires on Saturday.

Baatjies says she does not know if her house is still standing. “We just saw the flames coming; loaded clothes, our dogs and cat into the bakkie and drove to Sedgefield.”

This is the first time such extreme weather has been seen the almost thirty years that Kemoeti has lived there. “The wind just came and fanned the flames, it was terrifying.”

As far as is known around a thousand firefighters are attending the fires. Lauren Howard of Working on Fire (Wof) says this is the largest deployment of fire fighters in Knysna with 450 members of WoF alone, in the area.

The Knysna municipality has asked residents requiring medical attention to go to the temporary medical point at Loeriepark.

Eskom is hard at work repairing electrical faults and replacing overhead wires which have been damaged in among others ‘Dam se Bos’ and lower Welbedacht.

Water remains a problem in Knysna and consumers are requested to work sparingly with water. The Akkerkloof Dam is 31% full. Water supply problems to certain areas are being attended to.

Read more on:    netwerk24  |  george  |  fires

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