Firefighters have their hands full while facing difficult conditions and trying to contain a major wildfire in the mountains of Banhoek and Jonkershoek valleys. | Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
Firefighters have their hands full while facing difficult conditions and trying to contain a major wildfire in the mountains of Banhoek and Jonkershoek valleys. | Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Bredell says no need for panic or fear as Cape firefighters battle Jonkershoek wildfire

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Feb 26, 2021

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Cape Town - Firefighters had their hands full while facing difficult conditions and trying to contain a major wildfire in the mountains in the back end of Banhoek and Jonkershoek valleys.

The Cape Winelands District Municipality’s Fire Services along with partners CapeNature, Overberg District Municipality and the Fire Protection Association (FPA) continue to battle the major wildfire.

The fire has been burning high in the mountains for some days with most fire lines having been inaccessible to date. Conditions are very difficult, with extreme temperatures and strong winds hampering efforts.

Anton Bredell, Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC, said the fire teams worked throughout the night in efforts to contain the fire.

“Fresh teams replaced the overnight shift this morning and the work continues, particularly within the high-risk areas.”

Visibility on the Helshoogte Pass is limited as a fire continues to burn in the mountain area. | Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
| Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
Firefighters are stationed at the Jonkershoek Nature reserve waiting for a massive wildfire to move down the valley. | Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
Firefighters are stationed at the Jonkershoek Nature reserve waiting for a massive wildfire to move down the valley. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

There are currently 107 fire fighters attending to the fire and eight purpose-built firefighting vehicles. The Stellenbosch Fire Services and emergency services are on standby.

“Aerial resources will be deployed when conditions are favourable. The terrain is very mountainous and the strong wind isn’t helping. The forecast for the weekend is for the hot and windy conditions to prevail.”

All hiking and biking enthusiasts have been advised that all trails in the area have been closed till further notice.

“Please avoid the area and trails leading to the area as the variable winds can change direction at short notice which may pose a serious threat,” Bredell said.

Video: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

He added that further updates will be made available over the weekend.

Residents in the vicinity of the fire and in particular the Jonkershoek Valley are advised to take some precautionary steps including:

  • Remain hydrated.
  • Keep windows and doors closed until further notice as protection against smoke and heat.
  • Keep pets indoors where possible.
  • Move garden furniture that is flammable under cover where possible.
  • If the situation gets worse, residents will be alerted timeously.

In the event of an emergency please contact:

  • Stellenbosch Fire Services – 021 808 8888
  • Cape Winelands – 021 886 9244 / 021 887 4446
  • Provincial Emergency Number – 112

“There is no need for panic or fear, there are experienced teams on site and the situation is being closely monitored at all times,” says Bredell.

Cape Argus

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