Devastating Southern Cape fires mainly under control - police

2018-10-30 10:48
Outeniqua Pass on fire from the Blanco side. (Supplied)

Outeniqua Pass on fire from the Blanco side. (Supplied)

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The Southern Cape fires that have devastated areas around George and Knysna have been largely contained.

Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Poje told News24 on Tuesday morning that the death toll remained at eight people.

Earlier on Tuesday, Poje confirmed that two women and six children had died in the fires.

READ: Death toll in Southern Cape fires rises to 8, as evacuations continue

"The eldest of the children was 12. One of the women was pregnant.

"The fire has been contained. We still have challenges in the Knysna area, but reinforcements have been deployed."

Poje said that Outeniqua Pass and Robinson Pass had both been reopened.

Robinson Pass had earlier been closed because a tree had fallen across the roadway, while the Outeniqua Pass had been closed because of the fire.

Poje earlier said that evacuation efforts were ongoing, as there were two separate fires.

"The current situation is such, we are evacuating residents in the line of fire in Rheenendal. The fire has spread to Rheenendal and in George it's been contained."

Weather conditions

Poje said that gusts of wind and adverse weather conditions had made fighting the fire difficult for the crews in Knysna, but had aided the teams in George, who had managed to bring that fire under control.

"There are flare-ups, but we do have ground troops in terms of keeping a check on the fire," he said.

"In Knysna and George, community centres have been made available for people," said Poje.

He added that volunteers from as far as Bloemfontein had come to help fight the fires and that there was strong motivation among the crews to bring the fires under control.

Data from the South African Weather Service indicates a 60% chance of showers in Knysna and George on Tuesday, which should assist firefighting efforts.

Read more on:    george  |  fires

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