With weather conditions working in their favour, teams fighting the Tsitsikamma fires would focus on getting the fires under control, Working on Fire said in a media release this morning. “Weather conditions have improved, with light drizzle assisting fire-suppression operations.
“Temperatures are in the low teens, the wind is moderate,” the Department of Environmental Affairs project reported Monday 5 November.
“The weather forecast for the next two days is promising, with more rain forecast allowing us a window of opportunity to secure the wins we have achieved by improving and anchoring containment lines. This could result in further containment from 30% to around 80%. All efforts will be focused to get the fire under control in these favourable conditions.”
This fire started on 23 October in the Lottering area in the west. This was contained and declared safe on 27 October.
A second series of fires started due to lightning between Storms River and Clarkson on 29 October.
“Extreme weather conditions hampered fire suppression activities over this period,” WoF said. “This was exasperated by further lightning fires on 4 November at Coldstream and Kareedouw.”
The current fire spread across 80km from Coldstream in the West to Palmietvlei in the East.
WoF said the total area affected between the catchment and coast was approximately 40 000ha, of which the burn scar was approximately 6 000ha.
“The fire is burning uncontrolled in the catchment area due to the area being inaccessible. The area burned in the catchment is undefined.”
The main objective of the fire suppression activities was to safeguard communities, lives and infrastructure, WoF said. The total population affected was 12 535 people.
To date no fatalities, serious injuries or loss of infrastructure had been reported. Serious damage had been caused to plantations, waterworks and fence lines.
“Currently no communities are under threat,” WoF said. “Key focus areas are Coldstream, Stormsriver and Clarkson.”
WHO IS FIGHTING THE FIRES?
- Resources deployed for the dayshift are 383 firefighters and 21 mobile water resources.
- Aerial resources have been grounded due to cloudy weather conditions.
- WOF Teams deployed for day shift on 5 November are four teams making up 75 fire fighters from Elliot, Lottering, Witelsbos and Kromsriver. Two teams were this morning en route from George (Kato and Tsomo, making another 44 fire fighters).
- Eight WoF teams are at base camp resting: 73 fire fighters from Tsitsikamma, Longmore, Sarah Baartman, Molteno, Addo, Baviaanskloof and Joe Gqabi.
- 15 fire fighting vehicles are in operation.
- 2 Oryx helocopters and a spotter are inoperation.
- Government resources: Koukamma, Kouga, Makana, Ndlambe, Blue Crane Route , Sarah Baartman and the Nelson Mandela Metro municipalities.
Makana Fire Services Manager WIlliam Welkom confirmed that the municipality assisted with a vehicle and two firefighters from Wednesday 31 October to Saturday morning 3 November.
Current status at various incidents in the area from West to East.
- Coldstream – lightning strike (4/11/2018). Teams on fireline.
- Petrusville – Fire contained and mopping up taking place.
- Tsitsikamma National Park – Contained and monitored.
- Boskor- No active fires at the moment and mopping up is taking place.
- Stormsriver village – No active fires and mopping up is taking place.
- Petro Port – Fire contained and crews patrolling.
- Thornham and Nompumelelo – Crews patrolling and attending to flare ups.
- Soekoeshoek community- Were evacuated yesterday (4/11/2018)- No active fires – area declared safe and communities returned home.
- Sanddriff – Active Fires North of N2 but no threat to the community. Crews on fireline.
- Tsitsikamma Lodge and surrounded communities- Crews patrolling and tending to flare-ups.
- Koomasbos – Fire contained and mopping up continious.
- Hermanuskraal & Kwaaibrand – No active fires and situation being monitored. Community water supply damaged, temporary water supply provisions in place.
- Witelsbos – Active firelines being attended too.
- Woodlands – No Active fires and community safe, monitoring.
- Kareedouw – lighting strike fire 4/11/2018 contained and situation being monitored.
- Clarkson – Active fire that is potential threat to the community, key focus areas -monitoring fire and firecrews on standby.
- Palmietvlei – Active fireline attended to.