WATCH: Firefighters battle to douse Kleinmond blaze that has burnt 4700 hectares
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Cape Town - More than 200 firefighters and volunteers battled the Kleinmond wildfire which, up to Monday, had been raging for three days with no end in sight, tearing down the mountain in the direction of the Arabella Country Estate.
Authorities were alerted to the fire early on Saturday in the Highlands in an old pine plantation of the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs – thereafter it soon spread towards Kleinmond.
Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell visited Kleinmond on Monday to thank all firefighting entities currently battling to protect the seaside town.
Entities involved included the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Disaster Management, the Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality, Cape Nature, Working for Fire, as well as volunteer fire fighting units.
Last night Overstrand Municipality announced the area burnt had grown to 4700 hectares as the fire soon spread over Karwyderskraal road.
“The only uncontained lines currently are below Perdekop above Kleinmond, Karwyderskraal and Rooisand. These lines are still burning, resources assigned and active suppression is ongoing,” said Overstrand Mayor Annelie Rabie.
Rabie said the burnout above Kleinmond was successfully executed yesterday which secured the houses and provided a platform to launch a ground attack on the Kleinmond Perdeberg line- which was taking place today.
Accoridng to Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association manager Louise Wessels said the fire has also been partially contained.
Overberg District Municipality’s fire chief Reinhard Geldenhuys said there were about 150 people on the ground on Monday working to tackle the fire with a variety of resources, including 10 fire engines and aerial support that was focused on protecting the fire lines at the Kleinmond Golf Club and Arabella Estate.
“The R44 between Heuningkloof in Kleinmond and Arabella as well as the R43 T-junction have been closed to facilitate the emergency services’ vehicles and due to poor visibility and smoke on the road,” said Overstrand Municipality fire chief Lester Smith.
Smith said those in the area should expect road closures, as lots of smoke and firefighting activity was hindering visibility.
At 9am on Monday, the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association (FPA) said they were able to partly contain the fire thanks to the hard hard work by all the assisting firefighters, volunteers, municipalities and organisations.
As crews worked through the night to put out hot spots and cool down the vicinity of Arabella and Karwyderskraal, Overstrand Municipality opened all roads leading in and from Kleinmond to Hermanus this morning, including the R44 and R43, while ground teams were deployed to Perdeberg today.
Greater Overberg FPA said there was no immediate threat to towns or farmlands, but their fire-suppression efforts continued and aerial resources were ready to assist throughout the day if need be.
“Since our previous update, the Incident Management Team, Overstrand officials and council have been responding to this wildfire. Not only on the lines, but also to support Kleinmond and surrounding communities and businesses,” said Rabie.
Rabie said the weather conditions and the extreme heat posed a serious challenge throughout the fire suppression efforts for the past three days.
Hangklip Kleinmond CPF chairperson Jacques Oosthuizen said all available stakeholders were working non stop to contain the fire.