Garden Route fires under control - Working on Fire

This comes barely a month after a deadly and devastating wildfire that caused havoc in the region

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

CAPE TOWN - Working on Fire says that several blazes that broke out in parts of the Garden Route have been brought under control.

This comes barely a month after a deadly and devastating wildfire that caused havoc in the region.

The organisation's Lauren Howard says: “Approximately 80 firefighters from the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Working on Fire programme will spread across the Southern Cape, focusing on hotspot areas in Simola, Buffels Bay and Groenvlei.”

On Thursday, the Garden Route Rebuild Initiative was launched. It’s set to draw on resources from all three spheres of government, private sector donors and the local community to rebuild the community.

Seven people lost their lives in last month's blazes and hundreds of homes were gutted.

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

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.

Knysna Tourism says that the town is ready to host the upcoming Pick 'n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival, which starts on Friday 7 July.

Knysna Tourism PR Manager Jeannine Orzechowshi said: “We have a lot of people coming in to enjoy the festival. In terms of the damage to Kynsna, most of the tourists' activities and accommodation establishments were not damaged. We did get some damage to some guesthouses and B&Bs but we have at least 4,000 beds available.”

Additional reporting by Ilze-Marie le Roux & Kevin Brandt.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)