Update On Evacuation Of Affected Communities
While the official death toll in the Southern Cape has risen to five, with as much as 80% of the fires contained, an emergency evacuation had to be carried out at Fairview near Knysna as the raging Knysna fires spread to plantation inhabited by farmers and workers.
Residents and animals in Green Valley in Plettenberg Bay and Buffalo Bay next to Brenton-on-Sea were evacuated on Saturday morning as windy conditions complicated firefighting efforts in the area. This was after fires erupted along the mountain slopes surrounding the area on Friday night.
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As a result of the Knysna fires, the suburbs were temporarily evacuated as a precautionary measure, municipal spokesperson Fran Kristen said. Helicopters were currently waterbombing the area in an attempt to contain the fire. Also, the George local municipality deployed five Go George buses to assist with evacuations.
Western Cape Local Government spokesperson James-Brent Styan said an additional South African National Defence Force (SANDF) helicopter has been deployed. Subsequently, eleven helicopters were already deployed to the Eden District by Saturday morning with an additional helicopter from Working on Fire on its way to the area.
Meanwhile, George municipality said fires caused no structural damage in the municipality.
Sowetan also reported that an emergency evacuation had to be carried out at Fairview near Knysna on Friday evening.
The area is situated off the N2 between Knysna and Sedgefield.
While many residents were reluctant to leave their homes, John Kiewiets‚ 54‚ a double amputee was grateful that he was not left behind. Emergency staff were able to get him to a place of safety in time.
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“Thankfully they came to us in time‚ otherwise, I don’t know what would have happened to us.”
The community residents were taken to Pina Lake Marine where they will be staying until the fires have been extinguished.