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Vredehoek fire contained as Paarl blaze rages on

A fire in the Paarl region started on Monday afternoon and evacuations have also taken place.

A firefighter pictured after the Deer Park fire was contained on 17 January 2016. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - While the fire in the Vredehoek area has been contained, a fire is still raging in the Paarl region.

That fire started on Monday afternoon and evacuations have also taken place.

A wine farm is reportedly one of several that's been affected.

Community firefighter Daan van Leeuwen-Boomkamp says, “The wind has picked up enormously. We have gale force winds. It started on Monday afternoon.”

Western Cape Traffic Chief Kenny Africa says the Du Toitskloof pass remains closed to traffic.

“We closed the pass last night due to a huge mountain fire. The situation with regards to the fire remains unchanged.”

EVACUATION

At least one structure in the Paarl area has been gutted.

An extensive cloud of brown smoke could be seen creeping over towards the northern suburbs of Cape Town.

People have fled farms in the region, with their cars filled with their belongings.

It's unclear what caused the blaze.

VREDEHOEK

In the Vredehoek and Oranjezicht areas, firefighters have managed to contain a blaze, at least for now.

It started on the lower slopes of Table Mountain on Monday evening and was fueled by strong winds.

City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service's Theo Layne says, “The fire is contained with three helicopters water-bombing areas that are inaccessible to firefighters. Two residential structures were damaged in the fire and no injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is undetermined as this stage.”

At least two homes have been damaged in the massive vegetation fire, with more than a 100 firefighters on the scene.

City and provincial emergency crews have had to deal with hundreds of wildfires this year.

Other areas affected by fires in the province include Somerset West, Simon’s Town, Tulbagh and Grabouw.

The Environmental Affairs Department said more than 1,000 firefighters from its Working on Fire programme have been instrumental in assisting to battle blazes in the Western Cape.

Some of the firefighters who have been deployed were mobilised from the Eastern Cape and Free State.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)