7 November 2018
MOSSEL BAY FIRE, RESCUE AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT SERVICE’S FIRE FIGHTING EFFORTS IN THE RECENT GARDEN ROUTE FIRES
Mossel Bay Municipality would like to extend condolences to the community of Karatara and the loved ones of the eight people who died in one of the recent devastating fires that swept through the Garden Route region.
The more than 14 fires that swept through the Garden Route since 24 October 2018 destroyed more than 90 000 hectares vegetation, as well as housing and heritage structures and wildlife.
These fires spread rapidly due to extremely dry weather conditions, strong winds and lightning.
Various communities had to be evacuated and were housed in community halls, schools, churches and clinics. Main roads were also closed due to poor visibility.
Mossel Bay Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management Services played a vital role in the firefighting operation in the Garden Route fires and assisted with among other evacuations, protecting human life, properties and animals as needed.
The Mossel Bay crew assisted as follows:
- On 23 and 24 October Mossel Bay fire crews assisted at the Vermaaklikheid fire towards Puntjie and Stilbaai by bringing fire lines effectively under control.
- On 28 October Mossel Bay was notified by Garden Route District Municipality and requested assistance with an active fire in the Outeniqua mountains. Mossel Bay assisted with 1 x Tanker and 1 x Skid Unit in Denneoord, George.
- On 29 October Mossel Bay assisted in the Blanco area in George after the fire jumped the Outeniqua Pass. We dispatched 1 x Major Pumper and 1 x Tanker to the area joined by Mossel Bay Chief Fire Officer, Joseph Johnston. Crews worked from Blanco into the area of Knysna at Beervalley.
- On 1 November Mossel Bay assisted Garden Route District Municipal Fire Services by attending to the fire flare up at Godwana Game Farm in the Mossel Bay area and to bring the fire lines under control.
- Godwana Game Farm reported another flare up on 2 November and requested assistance with the fire. Garden Route District Municipal Fire Services could not respond and crews from Mossel Bay assisted Godwana to bring their fire lines under control again.
- On 3 November assistance was given to MTO Forestry at Jonkersberg plantation where houses were in danger and the community of the Bosdorp was under threat. Community members were evacuated to Sinksabrug due to dense smoke conditions. The Mossel Bay crew assisted within the Bosdorp area by extinguishing the fire line that was threatening housing structures.
- Crews from the Great Brak River fire station also responded to a fire on a farm in Riverside when Garden Route municipal fire services confirmed that it had no resources available to tend to the fire. The fire was brought under control.
- Mossel Bay crews also responded to Herbertsdale after the Godwana fire became out of control that was once again fanned on by strong winds. Structures were protected from the fire front and brought under control.
- On 4 November Mossel Bay crews responded to Suurvlakte to assist with a fire in a ravine on a farm and brought it under control after Garden Route District Municipality Fire Services confirmed they could not respond to the fire due to limited resources deployed elsewhere.
These fire responses occurred amidst other fire and rescue calls within the Mossel Bay municipal area to which Mossel Bay Municipality Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management Services attended to.
On Monday Mossel Bay Executive Mayor, Alderman Harry Levendal, accompanied the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, and Mayors from various neighbouring towns, who were also affected by the devastating fires, on a site visit to amongst other the town of Karatara where 8 people died and other affected areas.
All the fires in the Garden Route have since been extinguished through excellent firefighting operations by all those involved and the welcomed rain the past few days.
There is no need for donations for the affected communities in the Mossel Bay municipal area and specifically Jonkersberg, as everyone that was evacuated as precautionary measure, has since returned to their houses unscathed.
Mossel Bay Municipality would like to thank all the Fire and rescue crews from the various municipalities, all the volunteers and other roleplayers who assisted with the recent firefighting operations in the Garden Route district.