Additional teams sent to fire ravaged Garden Route area

They are there to help stabilise slopes vulnerable to mud slides following devastating and deadly wildfires in June.

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

JOHANNESBURG - At least 90 additional working on fire personnel have been deployed to fire ravaged areas in the Southern Cape.

They are there to help stabilise slopes vulnerable to mud slides following devastating and deadly wildfires in June.

The organisation is part of the Garden Route rebuild initiative which was launched to fast track humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts.

Working on Fire's Lauren Howard said: “Another 45 people will be recruited to help with the hydro ceiling to spray fertilizer on the burnt ground.”

GALLERY: The Garden Route fires in pictures

BUILDING APPROVALS FAST-TRACKED FOLLOWING DEADLY GARDEN ROUTE FIRES

Building approvals are being fast-tracked in areas affected by the recent Garden Route wildfires.

Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde and Public Works MEC Donald Grant met with mayors last month to discuss progress in relation to rebuilding in fire ravaged communities.

Seven people were killed, thousands were evacuated and hundreds of properties were destroyed in fires in and around Knysna and Plettenberg Bay last month.

The Garden Route Rebuild Initiative involves humanitarian relief, as well as rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Winde says further trauma counselling and social support will be made available later this week when a Thusong Mobile will be stationed at the Knysna Town Hall.

There, residents who've lost personal documents in the fire will be able to access government services from Home Affairs, the Department of Labour and Sassa.

Winde says a significant amount of public infrastructure has been damaged and preliminary assessments have already been compiled.

He says key challenges are the instability of burned slopes, which create a risk of mudslides and the re-growth of alien vegetation.

Additional reporting by Lindsay Dentlinger.