Fire Updates: Outeniqua area

by CapeNature

Media Statement issued jointly by the George Municipality and Garden Route Municipality on Monday, 29 October regarding fires in the Outeniqua Pass area.

The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre has been activated on a limited scale due to the ongoing active fires in George in the Outeniqua Pass area.

The Outeniqua Fire remains active in the Waboomskraal area and on slopes of the Outeniqua Mountain above Witfontein Plantation.  The fire line behind Fernridge has moved into the plantation and ground crews are busy with containment.

All other fire lines are safe and contained at present. There is smoke due to smouldering backburns from yesterday and wind direction which has changed to push smoke over CBD.

Two Huey helicopters and two fixed wing bombers are in place to render aerial support and a SANDF Oryx helicopter will be at the George Airport from 08:30. All aerial support in the area is dependent on weather conditions, but current visibility is poor due to smoke.

Additional resources on route – 95 persons from Working on Fire. Resources will exceed 300 persons by this afternoon.

Motorists and residents are urged to be cautious, to close their windows, keep their gutters free of dry leaves, and to keep their pets indoors and move any flammable outdoor furniture inside.

Elderly and persons with health issues who are able to voluntarily remove themselves from the areas adjacent to slopes of the mountain should do so.

The public is has also been requested to refrain from recreational hiking today and over the next few days. All official hiking trails remain closed by CapeNature until further notice.

All donations towards the firefighting efforts must please be delivered to the George Fire Brigade at Mitchell Street, behind Outeniqua Primary School.

Thank you for all the donations so far. We are in need of the following:

  • smaller bottles of water (not 5L) for the firefighters
  • Juices / Energades
  • Lip Ice Vaseline
  • Wet Wipes
  • Rehydrate
  • Chocolates / Energy bars /  Bar Ones

UPDATE 29 October 2018: 

George Municipality is evacuating residents in Blanco Golden Valley and Stepaside as a precaution, according to the George Herald.

Residents living on the borders of the town and forest are also requested to voluntarily evacuate their homes due to danger of smoke inhalation.

The traffic department and SAPS will assist in the evacuation and GO GEORGE buses were reportedly arriving shortly to assist.

Residents are urged not to panic and to move slowly and carefully.  Shelter will be provided at Town Hall.

Evacuations have been called for the informal settlements in Blanco, Golden Valley and Step Aside, as well as in Barrie Road, Glenbarrie, Heatherlands and Glenbarrie full residential area.

Update: 30 October 2018

Media Statement
Issued George Municipality (GEORGE Fire) Tuesday 30th October, 08h30

Outeniqua Pass has reopened.
Montagu Pass remains closed until further notice.
Robinson Pass has reopened following a felled tree near Ruitersbos.
Outeniqua Pass currently has teams clearing debris from the fire and winds of last night. Motorists are warned to proceed with caution and be aware of possibility of falling rocks and trees.

STATUS OF OUTENIQUA MOUNTAIN FIRE
Fire lines around base of Outeniqua Mountains (urban interface) are smouldering in areas and mopping up is taking place currently.

Active fire lines behind Denneoord whic being monitored, where they can reach active fire suppression will be done.

Concern now lies with Northern side Ganzekraal (next to Louvain). Teams will be monitoring the fire behind Hoekwil.
Wind direction strong Westerly for most of today with 6mm of rain predicted.

78 people remain at the Town Hall, George following evacuation yesterday of informal settlement area Golden Valley in Blanco. 180 NMMU students housed overnight at CRC and Hope Church.
Conville Clinic providing normal services today. EMS will take all patients to George Hospital. Blanco Clinic has reopened.

Power Outages:
Hoekwil restored apart from Kerk Street
Heatherlands, Saasveld and Hansmoeskraal are being attended to.

Services:
Old Water Treatment Works in Denneoord will be operational shortly with Electro-Technical team attending to electrical supply. Water reserves to George municipal area are adequate but low due to fire related factors and we request that people use only the water necessary. All other reservoirs remain at good levels.

Aerial Support: will be redeployed to attend to other fires in the region and focused on areas needed. Will be working from George.

Resources: Currently over 593 resources available in the field throughout the district.
Three GO GEORGE buses have been deployed to Rheenendal to assist with the evacuation of people. 600 people have been evacuated in this area.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS
Contact George Municipality on 044 8016300

Additional fires are also being managed by the IMT include:
Karatara
Garcia Pass
Opsoek near Zoar
Jonkersberg
Grootvadersbosch
Ganzekraal

All donations towards the firefighting efforts must please be delivered to the George Fire Brigade at Mitchell Street.
Thank you for all the donations so far. We are in need of the following:
• smaller bottles of water (not 5L) for the firefighters
• Juices / Energades
• Lip Ice Vaseline
• Wet Wipes
• Rehydrate
• Chocolates / Energy bars / Bar Ones
Please drop at the George Fire Brigade in Mitchell street behind Outeniqua Primary sport fields.
Financial donations to be made to George Municipality bank account:
Bank: ABSA
Rekeningnommer/Account Number: 01022220981 Takkode / Branch Code: 632005 SWIFT CODE: ABSAZAJJCPE-SORTCODE 632005 Tipe / Type: Tjek/Cheque BTW/VAT NO: 4630193664 Email : rharmse@george.gov.za Website : http://www.george.org.za
Deposit(o) verwysing / reference : Fire/Disaster
Faks/fax: 086 6457188

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CapeNature Notification

Please note that all official and unofficial hiking trails on the Outeniqua mountains remain closed due to the current fires in the area.

We have received reports of people on the trails taking photographs. We ask the public to refrain from entering the area for their own safety.

Trails will remain closed until further notice.

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Published in Eco-Tourism, In the media

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