Fire crews still battling fresh blazes in Knysna area

These fires come barely a month after deadly wildfires tore through the region.

Firefighters from Working on Fire put out a fire that broke out in the Knysna area on 6 July 2017. Picture:@wo_fire /Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Firefighters are continuing to battle fresh blazes that broke out in Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

These fires come barely a month after deadly wildfires tore through the region.

Seven people lost their lives in these blazes and hundreds of homes were gutted.

Working on Fire's Lauren Howard says that the fire in Plettenberg Bay has been contained.

“The focus areas would be Simola, Buffels Bay and Groenvlei. So we have a few teams that are going out to assist the partners.”

The community began rebuilding their lives, after hundreds of properties were also damaged and destroyed in last month’s fires.

Preliminary figures indicated that over 600 properties were affected by the runaway fires.

Various government departments have collaborated to provide financial assistance to speed up the town’s revitalisation.

South African Tourism has urged the public to support upcoming events in Knysna to help give the Garden Route town a boost after June’s devastating fires.

Nearly 2,500 jobs in the region have also been affected.

The Garden Route Rebuild Initiative, which was launched on Thursday, will draw on resources from all three spheres of government, private sector donors and the local community to rebuild the community.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says it's also an opportunity to upskill community members and to spark economic growth in the region.

“There is an enormous amount to do and the community has to get involved in every step of the way.”

She adds: “In trying to do the rebuild initiative, we need to look at developing skills so that local people can get jobs in this programme. That is going to be done in conjunction with the municipalities so they are able to set priorities and ensure that the funds go to the right targeted places.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)