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163 die in WC shack fires

Nearly 3,800 other fires, like vegetation blazes, claimed the lives of 33 people.

FILE: Over 160 people lost their lives in fires across the Western Cape in 2012. Picture: Christa Van der Walt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - More than 160 people lost their lives in shack fires across the Western Cape over the past financial year.

This figure was revealed in a response to a question posed by the ANC in the provincial legislature.

There were more than 1,800 shack fires in the Western Cape last year, resulting in around 163 deaths.

Most of the deaths were reported in informal settlements in Cape Town.

Nearly 3,800 other fires, like vegetation blazes, claimed the lives of 33 people.

Local Government MEC Anton Bredell says disaster management is prepared as best as possible for the looming Cape fire season.

"We put huge effort in getting better aircraft which can carry more water. We also put a huge effort into training and getting the right equipment."

Bredell says the fire season stretches between November and March, peaking in mid-January.