Firefighters struggle

Extreme weather conditions have kept Western Cape firefighters on their feet for the past 10 days.

“Shortly after the beginning of the new year, conditions have steadily worsened. High speed winds and very dry conditions are making areas particularly vulnerable to runaway fires,” said Western Cape Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell.

“Firefighting crews are working under very difficult conditions, including extreme temperatures often in excess of 40 degrees Celsius.”

In Cape Town alone, firefighters were dealing with an average of 60 to 70 vegetation fires every day, said the City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue service spokesperson, Theo Layne.

Fires recently raged through Ocean View, Misty Cliffs and Kommetjie. Twenty structures at a Rasta camp informal settlement were destroyed.

Layne said there were currently no major fires in the city. The same could not be said for the rest of the province.

“On Tuesday evening, a fire line stretching 40km was raging across the mountains between Ceres and Clanwilliam.

The fire is currently moving towards the Citrusdal area and we are monitoring the situation,” said provincial disaster management head Colin Deiner.

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