Several fires in the Paarl cause concern

Henry

The continued drought and windy conditions in and around Paarl have put firefighters under severe pressure in the past few days. Authorities now fear it is only a matter of time before an all-consuming fire, similar to the recent fire at Paardeberg, breaks out.

Two fires have been reported since Monday in the area around the Ashantie Dam in Paarl. The second fire started shortly after midnight on Wednesday. Thanks to the quick response of firefighters from the Drakenstein Farm Watch (DFW), the fire was quickly brought under control. Nevertheless, additional resources had to be called in from the Cape Winelands and five firefighting vehicles had to be deployed to bring the fire under control.

“Firefighting crews, private and state-owned, have already had their hands full in recent months and the weather conditions are not looking good,” said an official from the DFW. According to this officer, volunteers often have to sacrifice their time night after night to fight fires.

No fewer than three fires broke out on the Amstelhof farm on Sunday. According to the DFW, the farmer suspects that these fires were started.

Firefighters are also concerned that fires like these could lead to huge and destructive fires in the district. “The fear exists that another all-consuming fire could break out one of these days, which could destroy a lot of agricultural land and natural beauty.”

In recent years, several fires have started in January in the Overberg and caused great damage.

In 2019, a fire here left a total of 31 houses in ruins, partially destroyed 28 and engulfed around 12,800 ha of field.

In 2022, thousands of hectares were destroyed and nearly 200 firefighters helped to extinguish the flames at one time.