The Working on Fire programme assembled 300 firefighters and management to provide ongoing firefighting support to the local and district municipalities in the Garden Route.
At the same time, just over 200 firefighters in the Eastern Cape have also been battling fires in the Singisi Forest in Mhlahlane (OR Tambo District Municipality) and also in Tsitsikamma, where teams from Working on Fire are assisting SANParks at a fire at Witels Peak, Witelsbos.
The Garden Route fires erupted towards the end of October near several towns, from the Hessaqua Municipality (Vermaaklikheid).
Storms River Village in Tsitsikamma had to be evacuated Monday night 29 October as gale-force winds drove the fire around Lottering forest and it breached the containment line. That night the N2 was closed at the Kareedouw turn-off and the Tsitsikamma toll gate closed, Working on Fire spokesperson Nthabiseng Mokone said.
Two hundred fire fighters were deployed to the Tsitsikamma fire which continued to rage, Mokone said earlier this week. The area impacted by the fire was close to 30 000ha.
The National Department of Environment Affairs’ Working on Fire programme has 210 firefighters and supporting vehicles, spotter planes, two Huey helicopters and two fixed-wing 802 air tractor bombers, working to contain the fires in the area which have been burning for the past six days.
Mokone yesterday said an additional 120 Working on Fire fire fighters from the Free State and Eastern Cape (Cata and Tsomo) had been deployed to assist the George and Garden Route Municipality with fire suppression and mop-up operations.
“On Monday night the fire jumped the N2 and burnt north and south of the N2. Storms River Village had to be evacuated to the SANParks sports field,” Mokone said.
Two babies were among the eight people killed in a fire at a house in Farleigh, Knysna, on Monday, according to a report by News24.