Cape Town - Despite 3 000 hectares of National Park having burnt down in the ongoing fire at The Craggs just outside Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, the park says the area is open for visitors.
According to Garden Route National Park's planning manager, Len du Plessis, aerial resources were implemented on Tuesday, 13 December, to fight the active fire line while the wind is still.
Resources deployed include two hueys, one bomber, one spotter, and a titan helicopter to troop firefighters to the fire line.
On Wednesday, firefighters were still battling a fire active on the north-western flank in The Craggs. The teams were also fighting to contain the fire North of the N2, Nandi Mgwadlamba for the Garden Route National Park says.
The fire was initially contained on Sunday morning, 11 December following some light rains over the burnt areas. But strong easterly winds of about 41km/h again sparked an active fire line and the fire sprung up again.
On Tuesday morning, the Joint Operating Center met up to allocate resources and contained the fire once again. Weather conditions are expected to remain favourable throughout the week.
According to the Garden Route National Park, there has been no damage to infrastructure and no loss of life as the fire is mainly in fynbos areas.
This is what the fire looked like on Thursday morning, 15 December:
The recreational facilities in The Craggs area, such as the Bird of Eden and Monkey sanctuaries remain open to the public despite the ongoing firefighting efforts.
This is the second big fire in the Garden Route National Park, following the devastating fire in the Storms River region in which a restaurant and shop burnt down. The park, however, has already made provision to continue serving visitors during the festive season by deploying a temporary pop-up shop.
As the fire continues, the Western Cape firefighting authorities on Monday, 12 December, officially launched the fire season and safety operations.
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, warned that the hot and dry conditions pairing with gale force winds across the province indicate another difficult season ahead for firefighting entities.
He says, however, that authorities and the public should work together to keep fires at bay.
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