Evacuations in Somerset West ongoing

Cape Town - Areas in Somerset West are being evacuated after wildfires damaged several homes in the area, an eyewitness confirmed. 

“They are currently evacuating people in the Knorhoek Valley,” Somerset West resident Wallace du Plessis told News24 at 22:00 on Tuesday. 

“There are hundreds, not thousands of people in the area,” he said. 

Some animals have also since been evacuated.

PICS: Fire ravages Somerset West

Tessa van Leeuwen from the Drakenstein farm watch said all the horses were evacuated in Sir Lowry's park.

"We have been evacuating a lot of horses, a lot of cows and a lot of sheep," she said.

Van Leeuwen said that Lourensford farm was earlier believed to be in need of evacuation, but this was no longer the case.

Fires have been raging in Somerset West since Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday afternoon fires were believed to be under control, but afternoon winds fuelled the blaze.

The N2 has also been closed for all incoming and outgoing traffic.

Police have also closed Sir Lowry's Pass to traffic.

Members of the public are requested to donate energy bars and tin foil for the fire-fighters to the Hottentots Holland Dutch Reform church in Somerset West.

LIVE: Somerset West battles raging bush fire

Trevor Wyborn from the Wilderness Search and Rescue said that the neighbourhood watch groups of Strand and Somerset West have been activated to assist with evacuations in the region.

“It is not an open call for people to come. We don’t want anybody with a 4x4 to come drive on the mountain, we have more than enough people here,” Wyborn told News24 from the petrol station in Somerset West where volunteers were gathering.

According to Wyborn, roughly 20 volunteer vehicles have been dispatched to the area. 

The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Theo Lane told News24 earlier that helicopters had to be withdrawn due to the high winds and turbulence near the mountains.

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