Firefighters are busy in Cape Wineland


Since Tuesday, firefighting teams have had their hands full with several fires in the Cape Wine Country, quite a few of which are suspected to have been started maliciously.

The Cape Winelands District Municipality (KWDM) and partners, CapeNature and the Winelands Fire Protection Association (FPA), as well as contracted firefighting teams have been engaged in active firefighting activities at two fires since yesterday afternoon.

Firefighters were deployed late yesterday afternoon to a fire in the area of ​​the Berg River Dam outside Franschhoek.

“Due to the high fuel load of mixed vegetation, the fire moved quickly towards farms and other infrastructure. Air resources were deployed last night to provide assistance,” said Jo-Anne Otto, spokeswoman for the KWDM.

She says fire crews used recognized firefighting techniques during the night to contain the fire. “The fire is currently burning in very dense, inaccessible woods along the river and there are plans to cut the fire off at a wider section further downstream.”

Meanwhile, the fire that started yesterday afternoon in Du Toitskloof has been largely contained. “There is no continuous fire line, but smaller sections in inaccessible areas that are still burning. Firefighters hope that these flames will burn themselves out in the sparse vegetation.”

According to Otto, the burned areas and ground are still very hot in both cases and a large part of Wednesday will involve active firefighting, monitoring and cleanup activities.

“Fire services are also concerned about the effects that predicted warmer weather may have on the environment. Planning for the deployment of resources is currently underway.”

Meanwhile, fire after fire broke out in the Paarl on Tuesday. According to the organization Drakenstein Farm Watch, three fires broke out at the Boland Cricket Stadium, all three due to arson. Three water tankers and 18,000 liters of water had to be used to fight these fires.

“The DFW called in the help of the police, because clearly someone was playing games,” says the organization.

With reference to the fire in Du Toitskloof, the organization said that these types of fires will continue to occur as long as the local government does not apply better access control to the Du Toitskloof reserve and get the establishment of illegal fires under control.

“Otherwise we will have a fire here every day, to the great detriment of the environment and local communities.”