Franschhoek mountain fire's week-long blaze finally contained

2019-02-24 16:58
Fire fighters of CWDM and Working on Fire keep an eye on the fire line high in the Franschhoek mountains where a veld fire destroyed hundreds of hectares of fynbos. (Working on Fire)

Fire fighters of CWDM and Working on Fire keep an eye on the fire line high in the Franschhoek mountains where a veld fire destroyed hundreds of hectares of fynbos. (Working on Fire)

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Western Cape fire crews supported by four helicopters fought tirelessly to contain the fire which was ravaging in the Franschhoek mountains.

In a statement released by the Cape Winelands District Municipality’s (CWDM) Fire Services, which worked tirelessly together with their partners the CapeNature and Winelands fire Protection Association (FPA), confirmed that the fire was fully contained by Sunday.

The fire has been burning since Monday.

"This means that the demobilisation schedule can now be addressed and mopping up activities can begin. The fire needs to be completely cold for a period of 48 hours before it can be considered extinguished.

"There are two factors that are causing some concern. One, is that the cold front that is predicted for Tuesday, will be preceded by a north-westerly wind, which has the potential to re-ignite coals which may not yet have fully cooled down," said the municipality.

READ: Franschhoek town blaze threat over, but flames persist in high mountains

It added that the other factor is that the fire line has moved over the top of the mountains to the old High Noon side.

"This is the fire that was burning high up in the mountains which made operations difficult. In an effort to address this fire 60 firefighters and crews will be trooped in by two helicopters this morning, where they will stay to try and contain the fire.  The trooping takes quite a bit of time as the helicopters can only take five crew members per trip.

"There are currently 75 firefighters and ground crews, supported by nine fire vehicles and two helicopters. The incident command centre remains operational for the next 24 hours," said the municipality.

The municipality thanked the community of Franschhoek for their incredible support in the form of food, water, equipment and manpower.

READ: Franschhoek blaze: 'Backburn' tactic used to protect town

On Friday, firefighters declared that a blaze near Franschhoek is no longer a threat to the town or agricultural property, but sections in areas situated high in the mountains are still a problem.

The fire at times, threatened to encroach on the small town, which is known for its literary festival and wine.

So far 6 235 hectares of veld, with a mixture of fynbos and forest, making up a total fireline of 5km, have been burnt. 

Teams are also working on preventing flare-ups in areas where the fire was put out. 

On Thursday night, the Franschhoek Pass was closed as firefighters used the pass road as a breakline in a strategic backburn tactic to protect the town.

Read more on:    western cape  |  fires
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