Western Cape govt says R80m spent on putting out fires

Published Feb 3, 2019


As firefighters continued to monitor fires in the Botrivier, Overberg area on Saturday, the Western Cape government has estimated this fire season’s damage at R80 million.

The province put out 17 000 fires in the 2017 fire season and over the past few weeks has battled major blazes in Wupperthal, Betty’s Bay, and Overberg district.

Overberg fire chief Reinhard Geldenhuys said although all the fires were out in the 70km stretch, a small flare-up burnt on Friday night, but was quickly put out.

“At this stage we’ve a fair idea of how the fires were started, appointed an investigator and we are still waiting for a report,” Geldenhuys said.

Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell said one of the reasons for the fires was the drought, which made the veld dry and prone to fire.

“There is a lot of fuel in the form of dead trees, etc, that makes the situation so much worse,” Bredell said.

The cost of fire suppression for the province to date included fuel, helicopters and wildfire crews.

Bredell said resources deployed to deal with the fires varied from fire to fire and day to day, depending on risk factors, weather and territory.

Last weekend about 150 firefighters, three helicopters and one spotter plane were deployed to put out a fire on Signal Hill.

In the Botriver/Van der Stel Pass area, about70 firefighters tackled the blaze.

Weekend Argus

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