Approximately 70% of the Olifantsvlakte fire had been contained with some areas having active or smouldering flare-ups, Working on Fire said in a media release this morning. Coldstream, a community between Storm’s River and the Bloukrans Bridge in the Tsitsikamma area, is the closest community to the fire.
“Last night’s objective was to work on the left flank of this fire and make sure that its contained and safe as the aerial support worked on the area yesterday,” Communications Officer Nthabiseng Mokone said. Fire breaks were done along the left flank and monitoring would continue.
To date no fatalities or serious injuries had been reported. Resources for today included 49 Firefighters from Working on Fire Tsitsikamma, Lottering and Witelsbos; 62 Fire Trucks (FT) and 29 Strike Units; 30 staff members from Sanparks and 66 contractors from MTO Forestry.
The Olifantsvlakte fire started on 4 November 2018 by lightning strike on the mountain peak to the North of Coldstream and then spread down in a southerly direction.
“It was not posing any risk at that moment and from that day there was monitoring done daily to check if the fire was not becoming a danger, as all resources were based in Witelsbos to assist with fires that were raging in Tsitsikamma,” said Mokone.
When the Tsitsikamma fire was totally contained, monitoring of the Olifantsvlakte fire continued till
10 November when suppression activities started.
“The fire was becoming a threat due to the change of wind which was at that time alternating between easterly and westerly. Working on Fire, SANParks and MTO teams then managed to make Western section safe, then continued with fire suppression in the eastern line. On Sunday, 11 November, aerial support ( 1 Spotter, 1 Bomber, 1 Huey Helicopter) from Working on Fire in Western Cape assisted in areas where ground crew could not reach.
On Tuesday 13 November afternood again to come and assist and started [water-] bombing from 4.30pm till 7pm. n, aerial resources were dispatche
“There was a moment when the fire was becoming a threat to the firefighters and an emergency evacuation plan was put in place [in case].
An estimated 20ha of plantation had been burnt by this fire since it started.
“To date no fatalities, serious injuries or loss of infrastructure have been reported,” Mokone said. “Coldstream is the closest community to this fire and all efforts will be put in place to try and suppress this fire before it reaches the community.”