Update on Wilderness fires from George Municipality

AUGUST 24, 2016

A raging fire propelled by berg winds of up to 48km/hr left a trail of destruction in Wilderness on the 11th August with four homes lost, the George Municipality has announced.  

It said; "At a meeting held on 23rd August in Wilderness with the affected homeowners - George Municipality, Eden District Municipality, SANParks and  the Southern Cape Fire Protection Association (SCFPA) again extended their sympathies to those who lost homes and possessions.

"A total of 25 separate fire call outs were received by the George Control Centre on Tuesday 11th August and the George Municipal Fire Services Department has subsequently laid a charge of arson under the Veld and Forest Act, specifically with regard to the Wilderness/Hoekwil Fire and investigations into the matter continue."

The municipality said that the George Municipal Fire Services has measures in place to allow for assistance with fire fighting in the Greater George area with a Memorandum of Agreement signed with Eden District (responsible for Veld Fires), the SCFPA and a working collaboration with SANParks.

"This working relationship was called into action on the 11th August, however Eden Fire Services assisted with eight different fires in the District, Knysna Fire Services, Mossel Bay Fire Services and Oudtshoorn Fire Services respectively were all occupied with fires in their own areas. All backup resources were already deployed at these various fires," it explained.

George Municipality, Eden District Municipality, the SCFPA and SANParks met for a debriefing session last week and have agreed to the following in order to improve co-operation and incident response:

  • Devise a proactive plan to respond to unforeseen changing weather conditions
  • SANParks and the Eden District Municipality will explore the possibility of an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding).
  • All authorities will revisit emergency procedures and the better integration of resources
  • The FPA and other agencies will kick-start a fire awareness campaign.  
  • George Municipality will investigate the establishment of a satellite fire station in Kleinkrantz.

"The collective authorities have committed to a Public meeting to be held with Wilderness and Hoekwil residents and which date and time will be communicated. The affected homeowners are being kept up to date and a second meeting will be called with them."