Firefighters, aerial support battle to suppress Western Cape fires

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Firefighters are still battling several wildfires in the Western Cape, which started over the weekend.
Firefighters are still battling several wildfires in the Western Cape, which started over the weekend.
  • Firefighters are still battling a number of wildfires that broke out over the weekend.
  • Aerial support was brought out to try to stop a fire at Agtervink-Rivier near Worcester.
  • Firefighting efforts are also under way in the Kammanassie Mountains, near George.

Firefighters are still battling several wildfires that started over the weekend in the Western Cape.

One of the fires at Agtervink-Rivier, near Worcester, started on Saturday as a result of a lightning strike.

"The fire … is causing concern.  Teams have managed to contain the line running into the Koo Valley on the Robertson/Montagu side.   The areas will continue to be monitored as flare-ups are likely in the high temperatures expected on Monday," Cape Winelands District Municipality spokesperson Jo-Anne Otto said.

"However, the fire line running from the area behind Saggy Stone across the mountain towards the De Wet side is approximately five kilometres long."

READ | Fire at Waterkloof Air Force Base has been contained - SANDF spokesperson

Otto said firefighters would be deployed as the terrain allowed, but that the inaccessible terrain and the heat were likely to hamper their efforts.

A second fire caused by lightning late on Sunday night was reported in the Touws River Mountain.

Teams and resources will be deployed as soon as the full scope of the fire has been established.

A fire in Pearl Valley in Paarl was contained after two days. Teams are expected to monitor the area throughout the day.

Meanwhile, in the Kammanassie Mountains near George, a fire was burning in several inaccessible areas. Aerial support was planned for Monday to help firefighters on the ground, according to the Garden Route District Municipality.

The municipality said in a statement: 

A reconnaissance flight was conducted at first light and high-priority areas were identified that require a renewed approach to upscale operations. An hour of aerial wildfire suppression will be implemented to assist ground teams. This will aid firefighters in protecting infrastructure and suppressing areas stretching from west to east.

No lives have been lost and there was no damage to infrastructure.

The Western Cape is in the midst of its fire season, which takes place during the hot, dry and windy summer months, and, on average, sees between 17 000 and 20 000 fires each year.

Two weeks ago, a fire in Kleinmond led to the closure of the R44 and threatened the luxury Arabella Hotel, Golf and Spa. At least R2 million was spent on fighting the fire that raged on for several days.

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