Hundreds of firefighters assist in battling Garden Route fires

Cape Town - Hundreds of firefighters from Department of Environmental Affairs Working on Fire programme are currently assisting firefighters battling fires along the Garden Route in the Southern Cape.

Working on Fire spokesperson, Lauren Howard, said more than 250 firefighters had been dispatched to assist the Southern Cape FPA, Cape Nature, the Greater Overberg FPA, private landowners and the Eden District Municipality, at multiple fires across the Southern Cape.

Last year seven people were killed and at least 1 000 properties were damaged in a fire that raged between June 6 and 10 in the Knysna and Plettenberg Bay region. More than 10 000 people were evacuated, and Knysna and Plettenberg Bay were declared a disaster zone.

Howard said the firefighters were assisting with fires that had broken out in Ruitersbos, Albertinia, High Noon and Caledon areas.

She said successful block burns took place on Friday night to mitigate the spread of the fire in Ruitersbos and along the Robinson Pass, that links Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay.

Photo Supplied: WOF

The Ruitersbos fire has been burning for the past five days.

"The main focus for today will be in the Paardebond Plantation, as there are still hot spot areas where mopping up operations has commenced," she said.

Howard said the Robinson Pass has been reopened.

She said the majority of the eastern flank of the Albertinia fire had been extinguished, with mopping-up operations underway.

Photo Supplied: WOF

Howard said the Eden District Municipality's team and Working on Fire ground crews were still fighting to contain the remaining fire lines, which werenot posing a serious threat to property.

"The extent of the fire has not been determined at this stage as the Fire line stretched from Riversdale to Albertinia," she said.

Photo Supplied: WOF