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7 of 8 killed in Southern Cape wildfire from one family

Firefighters are still battling the fire which started last week in George and Knysna, but strong winds are worsening the situation.

The aftermath of a fire which destroyed 13 houses in Farleigh Forest in Karatara in the Southern Cape on 30 October 2018. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Seven of the eight people killed in a massive wildfire in the Southern Cape were from one family.

Firefighters are still battling the fire which started last week in George and Knysna, but strong winds are worsening the situation.

Forty-eight thousand hectares of vegetation have burned.

Eight people have died in the wildfire that has been sweeping through the Southern Cape.

One person, a South African National Parks (SANParks) employee, died in Beervlei. There, five SANParks houses were destroyed by the blaze.

Nearby, in Karatara’s Farleigh Forest, another SANParks nature reserve, 13 houses were gutted in the Rooivlei village.

Seven people from the same family, including two toddlers, were killed.

Only the burnt-out remains of houses, cars and appliances like fridges remain.

A few of the wooden homes that housed other SANParks employees have been left untouched by the fire which seems to have “jumped” on Monday night.

“We’re dealing with a lot of trauma council of the families. We’re assisting them any way we can, at this point,” says SANParks head of communications Janine Raftopoulos.

Thick smoke hangs in the air being blown by strong winds.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)