Garden Route Fire Update on Tuesday at 10am

Garden Route Fire

Update on the Garden Route Fire provided by the Garden Route District. The update does not cover the George Municipal area where fires have also been raging on the Outeniqua mountains.

Multiple Locations, including Karatara, Rheenendal etc.

MEC Mbombo (Minister of Health), MEC Fritz (Minister of Social Development) as well as MEC Bredell (Minister Local Government and Environmental Affairs) will be visiting the affected areas of the Garden Route. The Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, might visit the Garden Route District tomorrow.

The safety of public, emergency services personnel working on this fire and protection of infrastructure remains a priority for the Incident Management team and all firefighters. The primary objective of teams is also to prevent the spread of wildfire beyond existing fire lines.

The focus areas today will include: Northern areas currently affected due to the south-westerly winds. These include Eseljacht, Ganzekraal and Louvain. In addition, the eastern border of the fire (Knysna municipal area) is being driven by gale-force westerly winds. This remains a concern for the current operational period.

Aerial resources will be moved to priority areas as decided by the Incident Management Team. It proved to be difficult to get aerial resources airborne yesterday due to the thick layer of smoke and morning fog in George area.

Evacuations due to the Garden Route Fire

· Nearly 1000 people from the Karatara area have been evacuated as at 09:00
· Nearly 200 people from the Western side of Rheenendal have been evacuated and more are being evacuated.

1. KARATARA: Fire not contained, majority of resources deployed to this area.
2. BERGPLAAS: To be mopped up, monitoring of area taking pace.
3. DENNEOORD: Flare-up at this area and it is being attended to.
4. GARCIA PASS: Fire contained, mopping-up taking place.
5. GANZEKRAAL: Farm burnt down last night – a three (3) km fire line is still active and firefighters have been deployed to the area.
6. WABOOMSKRAAL: Fire contained, mopping-up taking place.
7. HEROLD: Fire contained, mopping-up taking place.
8. OPSOEK FIRE (Zoar): Assessment still in progress.
9. JONKERSBERG FIRE: Fire contained, mopping-up taking place.
10. GROOTVADERSBOS: Assessment still in progress.
11. SAASVELD/BERGPLAAS: Fire contained, mopping-up taking place.
12. DE HOOP NATURE RESERVE: Assessment still in progress.
13. TOORWATER: Fire contained, mopping-up taking place.
14. HARTEBEES AREA: Firefighters attending to this fire

A total of eight fatalities have been confirmed. Thus, two adults and six children under the age of 12 years.

Structures lost thus far:
· Ou tolhuis;
· Beervlei: 3 x structures;
· Garden Route Horse Trails: 4 x structures;
· Farleigh bosdorp :12 houses;
· Geelhoutvlei Timbers Sawmill;
· Various plantations;

Predominantly westerly wind today – strong on the northern side, which is expected to continue throughout today and tomorrow (31 October 2018). Meanwhile, the prediction for today and tomorrow is 6 ml rain.

The rain has not had a major impact on the wildfires. Winds are not in favour of making back burns due to its unpredictability and the risk of spotting – the wind has however moved smoke away from George.

Resources deployed to the Garden Route Fire 

Some of the resources deployed to the Garden Route, especially the George and Knysna Municipal areas, have also been deployed to Swellendam, Heidelberg, Swartberg, Ladismith/Calitzdorp areas.

Nearly 600 resources deployed across the Garden Route District.

• Garden Route District Municipality Fire Services: 20
• WoF: More than 280 people (the Free State and the entire Western Cape)
• Cape Nature: 60
• Mossel Bay LM: 6
• Bitou LM: 2
• NCC: 36
• Oudtshoorn LM: 2
• George Fire Department: 15
• PDMC: 1
• Knysna LM: 5
• SanParks: 25
• SCFPA: 4
• MTO: 80
• ACSA : Tankers from PE as well as Cape Town
• Overberg DM: 5
• West Coast DM: 13
• Go George: 10
• EMS: Incident command bus and 5 staff;
• ER 24
• 1 SANDF Oryx Helicopter
• Two Aerial Tractors (Fixed wing aircraft)
• Two Huey Helicopters from WoF
• 1 Private Helicopter

The Department of Social Services has also been rendering trauma counselling to the bereaved as well as those traumatised by the fires. Die Department of Education arranged for school children to stay on safe school grounds until conditions at home improved.

Please contact the George Fire Department for more information.

Editor’s Note:
• 900 – 1000 litres of water carried by each WoF Chopper and private choppers
• Aerial Tractor Bombers carry around 3000 litres of water
• SANDF Oryx carries around 3500 litres of water

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