The blaze has already burnt through more than 8 000 hectares of vegetation, with the flames fanned by strong winds. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)
The blaze has already burnt through more than 8 000 hectares of vegetation, with the flames fanned by strong winds. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Two firefighters injured in blaze near Stellenbosch, some residents relocated

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Feb 27, 2021

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Cape Town – Two firefighters have been taken to hospital after being injured while fighting a blaze in the Jonkershoek Valley, 10km south-east of Stellenbosch, which has been raging for five days.

The blaze has already burnt through more than 8 000 hectares of vegetation, with the flames fanned by strong winds.

Despite a crew of 236 firefighters, assisted by 24 fire-fighting vehicles, the fire has continued to spread through Jonkershoek and along the mountain peaks into the Blaauwklippen area.

Dense smoke and high winds made flying dangerous, which meant aerial water-bombing could not be implemented, but conditions today allowed for water-bombing.

Stellenbosch Mayor Gesie van Deventer said the fire was still out of control and crews were working around the clock to contain and control it.

While there has been no loss of life, livelihoods or property at this stage, a few residents from an informal settlement, MTO, have been relocated to a community hall in Cloetesville as a safety measure.

’’This was not an evacuation, but rather a decision based in the best interest of the safety of the residents,’’ Van Deventer said.

’’To all the ground teams who will continue the fight today, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Temperatures are set to soar into the 30s today, with a stiff breeze expected later.

’’Aerial support is deployed when visibility and winds allow for this. We are praying that this will be possible throughout the day. Thank you for putting yourselves in danger to protect lives, animals and properties.’’

The dense smoke and ash resulting from the fire is proving problematic and residents were advised that they should keep their windows and doors closed to avoid their homes being affected.

The elderly and frail and those with co-morbidities, such as asthma, as well as young children were advised to move to safer areas.

Stellenbosch Municipality thanked residents for the outpouring of support that it has received.

’’There have been many requests around the donation of funds for relief efforts. Anyone who wishes to make a monetary donation, can do so by making use of the already established Mayoral Fund,“ it posted on Facebook.

Details are as follows:

Bank: FNB

Account name: Stellenbosch Municipality Charitable Bank

Account type: Public Sector Cheque Account

Account number: 62869253733

Branch Code 210554

Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

Please use the reference 'Fire Aid' to ensure that the donation is ring-fenced. Any funds donated will go straight towards the relief efforts.

This account is audited by internal auditing teams as well as the Auditor-General of South Africa.

IOL

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