Firefighters gear up for 'difficult day' as they battle uncontrolled blaze near Paarl amid hot conditions

2020-02-29 11:04
The fire broke out in the Du Toitskloof Pass near Paarl on Tuesday.

The fire broke out in the Du Toitskloof Pass near Paarl on Tuesday. (Supplied, Daan van Leeuwen Boomkamp)

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A fire in the Du Toitskloof Pass area near Paarl has destroyed almost 6 000 hectares of mixed fynbos and continues to burn out of control, Cape Winelands District Municipality said on Saturday morning.

The inferno broke out on Tuesday and firefighting efforts are expected to be impacted on by hot weather conditions on Saturday.

"The very hot temperature of 40°C will make firefighting difficult, as the heat is conducive to the spread of the fire and increases the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion in the ground teams," said municipal spokesperson Jo-Anne Otto.

"This is going to be a very difficult day and we urge all to keep everyone involved in their thoughts."

Active fire fighting continued throughout the night, with efforts hampered by strong winds.  

On Friday morning, the inferno in in the Du Toitsk
On Friday morning, the inferno in the Du Toitskloof Pass continued to burn out of control. (Supplied, Daan van Leeuwen Boomkamp)

"Despite this the fire fighters did well to prevent the fire from damaging any structures, and no injuries have been reported," said Otto.

Fresh crews from the municipality and affiliated partners are expected on the ground on Saturday morning, she added.

“Air support will be provided and the first helicopter has already started water bombing in the areas that are most threatening. There are currently 70 ground team members, 18 fire vehicles, 40 firefighters and air support,” Otto said.

The Huguenot Tunnel remains closed to traffic until further notice.

To donate to the fire fighters, contact Wendy Tawse of Cape Nature on 082 442 8005.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires  |  traffic
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