Runaway fire threatens Franschhoek homes

2013-01-28 22:10

Cape Town - Firefighters battled on Monday to contain a runaway fire in the Cape Winelands, one of several blazes raging in the Western Cape in which one person has died.

A line of nearly 17km was burning away from Franschhoek, as a senior firefighter expressed concerns about possible dangers.

"The fire is now burning out of control, it's coming down on properties," said Royston Harris, station manager of the Cape Winelands municipality fire station in Stellenbosch.

"A lot of properties are in danger, lives are in danger. We're trying our best to just save wherever we can."

Farms in the area were under threat and strong winds were making conditions difficult for firefighters, he said.

Western Cape provincial coordinator of firefighting group Working on Fire, Bianca van Biljon, said 16 teams, each made up of 15 to 24 people, were fighting fires in four areas and that reinforcements from elsewhere in the country had been requested.

Fires were still raging in the mountainous Cederberg area after starting on 17 January and 25 000ha of land have been destroyed, she said.

A volunteer firefighter died last week in Clanwilliam.

The fire had spread from Franschhoek in three directions, said Van Biljon, while there were also fires in Tulbagh and Uniondale.

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  • delish7564 - 2013-01-28 22:23

    Scary stuff...saw it near Franschhoek this afternoon while picking my daughter up from school - smoke clearly visible from N2!!!!

      Citroes - 2013-01-28 22:34

      There was a second fire on the N2 today as well.

      SaniGhana - 2013-01-29 00:27

      My heart bleeds for my da province,may god send us many good men

      Frik Vermeulen - 2013-01-29 08:07

      I can see that this is a hot topic.

  • beverly.young3 - 2013-01-28 22:38

    OMG! this is simply terrible. I am so, so sorry for all the people down there, I pray that there are no lives lost.

  • Moabaladi Lebogang - 2013-01-29 05:04

    hpe d lyf of pple a safe der

      ernest.lwandle - 2013-01-29 05:55

      Any language please this is the peoples forum.

      willie.olivier.144 - 2013-01-29 07:05

      I think you need a refund on your school fees!

      xwagga.newss - 2013-01-29 07:41

      catch a wakeup this isn't twitter. presuming your comment to be "hope the life of people are safe there"

      Lizette van Wyk-WC - 2013-01-29 08:06

      I think it says (Hope the life's of people are save there) Thank you, so do all of us.

  • PF - 2013-01-29 06:39

    Amazing how people still light open fires for a braai when the wind gets a bit rough. At Grotto Bay on the West Coast they have the same phenomena.I visited friends there for the weekend and was told that open fires for braais are not frowned upon.The trustees seems to allow it ! Look what happened at St Francis. People never learn , do they.And fynbos loves to burn.

  • luna.moon.5243817 - 2013-01-29 07:12

    Wander what/who started the fire...maybe, just maybe, the striking farm workers?

      brian.connell.18 - 2013-01-29 07:47

      Irresponsible statement

      Frik Vermeulen - 2013-01-29 08:08

      Farmers only wish to have peace, please stop the finger pointing.

  • gwilym.howes - 2013-01-29 08:19

    EVERY year we get these TRAGIC stories about wildfires in the Cape. FFS people, DON'T BUILD YOUR HOMES IN THE FYNBOS / FOREST! Here is the truth: Fynbos burns. God made it that way. If you must live / build there, then ensure you have adequate fire breaks around your home. If you can't, then you are tempting fate. That fynbos WILL burn sooner or later, and then you will lose your homes. This is not really even news - it was always going to happen. I DO feel sorry for you all, but expecting help from others is BS. You chose to live there, you should have known the risk, so now, deal with it! It is the same as all these people who live along rivers, dams and beach fronts. Then when the water rises a few feet, oh dear, they get washed away and everyone must feel SO sorry for them. It is INEVITABLE, people, and YOU have failed to assess your risk, or have chosen to ignore the risk. So now, deal with it. Sorry. Tough I know, but that is the truth.

      Oms Monokoane - 2013-01-30 23:32

      i fully agree!!! i could not have said it better myself...

  • D_MAN - 2013-01-29 08:58

    Why have we not never bought water planes like they have in the states??? We have so many of these massive fires every year. Our fire fighters risk their lives putting these fires out. But because government is wasting money on their ministers housing upgrade, Zuma's private home and billions on consultants our fire fighters must deal with out dated equipment.

      gwilym.howes - 2013-01-29 09:39

      No need to confuse the issue with Zuma's house. We all know that was wrong, and condemn it. But that does not mean that we should also waste money on another bad cause, or that the State should rather have spent the money on yet another bad cause. With Zuma's house out of the way, let us look at the planes. This would be a hugely expensive exercise. The fiscus would have to pay. Now what IS the fiscus? It is the money that you and I pay into the State's coffers by way of our taxes. Now how many tax payers do YOU think would like to see their tax-Rands being spent on these planes? Bear in mind that the fiscus apparently can't afford to provide the roads that the State is OBLIGED to provide - No, they want to toll the people EXTRA to pay for those. And the fiscus can't afford more Policemen, or enough Police vehicles, or to pay its medical staff enough to retain them. The list goes on. And then you want PLANES to protect the homes of a few silly people who build them in the wrong place anyway? Or fail to maintain adequate fire breaks? I DON'T think so! These fires are inevitable; the damage is preventable. If people want to live in these areas, they must take the necessary precautions. But I do not want 1c of MY taxes to buy planes to manage their folly... Sorry!

      gwilym.howes - 2013-01-29 09:41

      I do agree with your point about the risk to fire fighters. But my solution is far simpler and cheaper than planes. LET THE FIRES BURN! Nature meant it that way: let it happen. But make sure you and your house are out of the way. Of, and farmers and their grazing? Again: firebreaks!

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