Firefighters are struggling to control a veld fire between Albertinia and Gouritsmond in the Southern Cape. Picture: Facebook / SABC
Firefighters are struggling to control a veld fire between Albertinia and Gouritsmond in the Southern Cape. Picture: Facebook / SABC

Blanket of smoke clouds N2 as five fires rage in Cape

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Dec 18, 2019

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Cape Town – Firefighters are battling three wildfires in the Hessequa region, about 300km from Cape Town.

On Tuesday, two wildfires in the Gouritzmond area, 1.5km apart from each other, were fuelled by gale-force winds, while a fire was also reported in Hoeko.

Officials said a fourth fire raged in the Bitou region, while a fifth was reported in the Greyton Nature Reserve in the Overberg.

Working on Fire spokesperson Limakatso Khalianyane said they had deployed firefighters and aerial resources to the Hessequa fires.

“Two spotters, a bomber and a chopper are out to assist the Garden Route District Municipality in suppressing the fire.

‘‘The fire is ongoing at this point, and it is unclear what caused it. We have also sent three firefighter teams, which are in Riversdale, George and Albertinia.

“Each team has a fire truck,” Khalianyane said.

Garden Route Municipality spokesperson Herman Pieters said: “The N2 is not closed yet, but it was reported that a thick blanket of smoke currently obstructs the vision of drivers along the road.

‘‘Provincial traffic are at the scene. It’s important to note that the South African Weather Service also issued an advisory for strong to gale-force north-westerly winds expected from midday today till December 19.”

The fire in the Overberg started last Wednesday, and by yesterday could not be extinguished.

More than 100 firefighters had been deployed since the start of fire, disaster manager Reinard Geldenhuys said.

“It started due to malicious ignition. We are busy with the fire investigation; with that, the fire spread rapidly up into the mountain. We used aerial resources at that stage to protect the town.

‘‘From there, it spread in a northerly direction to the mountain. Since then, it has been very much a cat-and-mouse game with the fire over the rugged terrain.”

Cape Times

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