De Vlugt fire reignites, but Southern Cape fires contained

2018-11-01 16:10
Firefighters continue to battle the Southern Cape blaze in the De Vlugt area. (Christina Pitt, News24)

Firefighters continue to battle the Southern Cape blaze in the De Vlugt area. (Christina Pitt, News24)

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Even though several firefighting crews worked through the night to contain a blaze in De Vlugt in the Southern Cape, the fire became active again on Thursday.

Two helicopters have been deployed to contain the fire, the Garden Route District Municipality said in a statement following a week of intense firefighting in the Southern Cape region.

Infrastructure was at risk, including the DC South Cape Sawmill and other structures east of the fire.

No further details regarding the fire were readily available.

On Wednesday evening, teams worked to protect Dubell sawmill as well as 50 homes in the small farming community in Buffelsnek.

"Teams worked throughout the night to protect infrastructure and deal with flare-ups. The status quo will continue for the day," the statement said.

A large amount of smoke is still visible east of George near the Geelhoutvlei Timbers.

READ: 'We don't know what happened' – relative of Southern Cape fire victims recalls chaotic evacuation

A sawmill in the area has been partially burnt down and the owner is attending to the situation.

In the Karatara area, where eight people lost their lives on Tuesday, fires continued to burn in the indigenous forest high up in the mountains.

SanParks was monitoring the situation.

All other fires on the Garden Route have been contained.

Officials on the ground, however, have warned winds could pick up and temperatures could rise again over the weekend. Flare-ups could therefore be expected.

Acting Environmental Affairs Minister Derek Hanekom expressed his condolences to the families that lost their loved ones.

READ MORE: PICS: Firefighting efforts continue in De Vlugt area

"With the assistance of the police and local authorities, we are trying to persuade people to be evacuated as the risk is still very high," Hanekom said during his visit to various hotspots.

"Firefighting efforts have been severely hampered by strong, gusty winds and with the dry and hot temperatures at times. The fires could spread in any direction and we don’t want to lose further lives."

Hanekom emphasised the necessity of respecting the potential impact of fires on the wildland urban and commercial agriculture interface, as a serious build-up of invasive alien plant invasions increases the risk of fire damage.

"Very interestingly, from above it is clear that indigenous forests have not been at risk as alien invasive have been," he said.

"As climate change takes hold with longer, hotter periods, the risk just intensifies. We need to reduce that risk."

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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