Garden Route fire rips through 86 000 hectares - four times as much as 2017 Knysna fire

2018-11-04 20:19
Firefighters battle a blaze. (File photo: Christina Pitt, News24)

Firefighters battle a blaze. (File photo: Christina Pitt, News24)

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The current scar of a fire that has been raging along the Garden Route for over a week is four times the size of the 2017 Knysna/Bitou fires, the area's Joint Operations Centre (JOC) said on Sunday.

In a statement, the JOC said over 86 000 hectares had burnt in the Outenique/De Vlugt area, compared to around 22 000 hectares in the fires last year.

Firefighters were actively battling blazes in the Mossel Bay/Herberstdale area on Sunday afternoon, with mopping up operations in other parts of the area. No infrastructure was in danger.

Around 60 residents of Kransbos were sent to Wittedrift community hall and around 25 Diepwalle residents to Hornlee community hall as part of precautionary evacuations.

In Jonkersberg, a SA National Defence Force Oryx helicopter and Working on Fire Huey dropped water on the western flank.

No infrastructure was in danger there and cooler weather was assisting firefighters.

"Currently crews are attending to high-priority flare-ups at all divisions through suppression actions, with a focus on critical areas being Jonkersberg, Noll, Kransbos, Diepwalle and Seven Passes. Mopping-up operations will be taking place throughout the day," the JOC stated.

It warned people to be wary of scammers seeking to cash in on the disaster.

"The municipality did not send any officials to ask for money from residents. Please note that this is a SCAM."

People were asked to report these incidents to police.

Those who wanted to make a food donation could drop off at the Knysna Fire Station or the Kitchen at the Sedgefield Municipal Office."

Financial donations can be made to the George Municipality bank account at ABSA, cheque account Number: 01022220981, branch code: 632005, with the reference 'Fire/Disaster'.

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