#KnysnaFire: Firefighters consider water bombing Knysna fires

2017-06-08 15:53
(Gallo Images)

(Gallo Images)

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Johannesburg - Firefighters battling the rampant and vicious fires that broke out in Knysna are considering water bombing areas, as they are still not under control, and could begin to spread again.

The death toll in Knysna rose to five on Thursday, after a man died of a heart attack while being evacuated from his home. A family of three, as well as a three-year-old child, have alos died as a result of the vicious fire rampaging through the area.

Up to 20 suburbs have been damaged and more than 10 000 displaced people had been evacuated by Thursday afternoon.

Knysna Municipality Chief Fire Officer Clint Manuel said, as emergency services were still fighting the fires in the town and surrounding areas, they were considering water bombing inaccessible areas.

Water bombing is an aerial fire fighting technique, where aircraft are used to combat wildfires by dropping water, or water enhancers such as foam and gel, on the flames. 

"If it’s viable, we will then start water bombing areas where we know the fire has potential of spreading," said Manuel.

"The fire is not under control. We are trying to secure it at this stage, meaning that we do not want this fire to spread out of control again and run away from us, should the wind change direction or intensify."

Manuel said all crews were on the ground, trying to secure the town by fighting building fires. They hoped to make the areas safe, so that residents could return to their homes.

"Basically, services like water and electricity must obviously be restored, but we are making good progress."

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) have been deployed three helicopters to water bomb the area, and other emergency services personnel from as far as Cape Town are also fighgting the fires.

Many residents have also taken up the fight to stop the fires, some refusing to evacuate their homes.

Read more on:    knysna  |  fires

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