Firefighters deployed to battle Southern Cape fires

On the outskirts of the Concordia community, firefighters are battling smaller blazes which are being fanned by the wind.

Volunteer ground crew in clean-up operations in one of Knysna’s plantation forests. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN/KNYSNA – Firefighters have been deployed to attend to two high priority areas in the Southern Cape.

Runaway fires that had gripped Knysna and surrounding areas are under control for now.

Aerial firefighting resumed on Sunday as strong winds died down.

On the outskirts of the Concordia community, firefighters are battling smaller blazes which are being fanned by the wind.

Knysna Municipality disaster risk coordinator Richard Mayor says high-risk areas are being attended to.

“We’re also focusing on the area to make sure we battle the fires.”

A full assessment of damage will be carried out this week. Seven people have died and hundreds of properties have been gutted or damaged, while thousands of residents remain on edge.

_WATCH: Knysna fires claim homes but not hope

MAIMANE TO VISIT KNYSNA

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane will on Monday visit Knysna in the wake of the devastating fires which have claimed the lives of seven people, including children and left widespread damage across the region.

Maimane will visit residents affected by the inferno and assess the damage caused.

The Knysna Municipality says the fires in the region have been contained and firefighters are now making sure they don’t spread any further.

The municipality’s Fran Kirsten says: “We’re very happy to report that the fires are all contained and we’ve no further incidents through the night and nobody was evacuated.

“So the teams are monitoring the situation and hopefully today they will be able to control the fire.”

Meanwhile, in the southern Cape, firefighters will remain on high alert in the Eden district.

The Western Cape government’s James-Brent Styan says: “The very good news is that the fire in the region has been contained.

“There are one or two points of concern but following some good work was done over the evening and early hours of the morning, we’re quietly confident that we might have won the battle.”

NMB FIRES

Several fires have also been raging in the Nelson Mandela Bay region.

Parts of Woodridge College and a preparatory school have been damaged by the flames.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki says the fires have been contained.

“We hope the wind does not pick up. Once the wind picks up, we tend to have problems. We will start counting our losses, including damage to the school. The school will also have a meeting today to determine the way forward.”

At the same Time, Western Cape head of disaster management Colin Deiner says they’ll monitor the situation.

“We’ve kept all our resources on various fire lines and we kept all aircraft on station. It’s about dealing with any possible flare-ups. It’s looking very good at the moment.”