Paarl fire 'out of control' as Western Cape burns

A helicopter is used to water bomb fires. (Wallace du Plessis, News24, file)
A helicopter is used to water bomb fires. (Wallace du Plessis, News24, file)

Cape Town - Firefighters were on Tuesday attending to 19 fires across the Western Cape, while still trying to put out the Paarl fire which was "out of control".

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Fires were burning on the Cape Peninsula, West Coast, and in the Cape Winelands, the provincial public works department said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The fire in the Paarl area is being fanned by strong wind and several properties remain at risk," the statement read.

READ: Evacuations, building destroyed as wildfires spread in Paarl

The main building on the Calais wine estate was destroyed on Tuesday morning. The fire started on Sunday.

Wildfires also damaged several homes in Vredehoek, Cape Town.

Western Cape Local Government MEC Anton Bredell thanked the South African Air Force and defence minister for their help.

The Oryx helicopters were much larger and able to drop more water on the fires, compared to the helicopters the city usually used, Bredell said.

Drakenstein municipality chief fire officer Derick Damons told News24 that military helicopters were only deployed in Paarl on Tuesday morning, after strong winds prevented them from being used on Monday.

Western Cape disaster management head Colin Deiner said 200 firefighters were battling very difficult conditions.

"The priority for the firefighting entities at the moment remains the Paarl fire. The extremely strong wind are making flying very difficult," said Deiner.


Main building on the Calais wine estate that has been destroyed. (Calais wine estate)

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