Somerset West fires still not under control

2017-01-10 17:03
Somerset West fire (James De Villiers, News24)

Somerset West fire (James De Villiers, News24)

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Cape Town – The City of Cape Town's fire head has said that blazes on the slopes of the Helderberg mountains, which have already burnt down the luxury Bezweni lodge and damaged more than 600 hectares, are still not under control.

Tuesday marks the seventh consecutive day of fires on the mountain.

The city also said that additional fires have started on the M19 near the N7 in Wolweriver. The M19 is currently closed for traffic. 

"We are very, very cautious to say that fires are under control. We can only say that when the blaze has been fully extinguished," Ian Schnetler told News24.

"Wind conditions have fuelled the blaze until now, but weather predictions for tomorrow indicate that the winds may quiet down. This hopefully means we can finally lay this fire to rest," he said.

Some 180 firefighters have been deployed to the area.

"We are focusing our attention on the Lourensford area. There are two helicopters currently... [water] bombing in the area."

According to Schnetler, no additional buildings or vineyards had burnt down.

At a press briefing on Monday, the City said that 629 fires had been extinguished in Cape Town since last Tuesday. Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said that current fire awareness projects were not effective and that a new strategy needed to be devised to combat wildfires.

Meanwhile, fires on Monday destroyed at least eight buildings in Paarl, including heritage sites on the farms of Augusta Kleinbosch and Druk-My-Niet. Strong winds and darkness complicated firefighting efforts in the region.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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