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Storm winds fan Knysna fire, residents evacuated

Strong winds are pushing the flames towards homes in Belvidere, Breonton-on-Sea and Rheenendal.

The first fire, which broke out near Plettenberg Bay last night, was contained but there's also another burning close to Rheenendal. Picture: Richard Wallis/iWitness

CAPE TOWN – Scores of people are being evacuated from their homes in Knysna as a fire threatens property in the Garden Route town.

A section of the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay has been closed to traffic as the fire is burning on both sides of the road.

The first fire, which broke out near Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday night, was contained but there is another fire burning in a vast area close to Rheenendal.

Strong winds are pushing the flames towards homes in Belvidere, Breonton-on-Sea and Rheenendal.

Knysna Fire Chief Clint Manuel says crews are trying to get as many people away from danger.

“We have evacuated the entire Belvidere and some people have come out, but we are getting reports of some people still on the inside. We are still trying to get them out and we are also trying to get them to the jetty where the NSRI can also pick them up.”

Resident Richard Wallis says the situation is really bad.

“Knysna is in perpetual darkness. It’s a disaster here. It’s crazy. Some people are fire-locked. They have water on the one side and the fire on the mountains on the other side. It’s really bad.”

At the same time, three people have been reported dead in an incident emergency services are linking to the strong winds brought in by the storm which continues to sweep through the Peninsula.

A farm worker and his wife and son are reported to have died in the area were fires fanned by Berg winds rage on.

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