Fire rages outside Port Elizabeth

Firefighters were on Friday working to contain a fire in the Rocklands and Elandsriver areas outside Port Elizabeth, a fire official said.

“It’s not fully under control because of the wind, but we are trying our best to contain it,” said the Cacadu district fire service coordinator, Spannie Spangenberg.

Lulamile Jack, acting manager for fire and emergency services in the Nelson Mandela metropolis, said a fire started on Wednesday night at the Longmore flower plantation, causing extensive damage.

“It was brought under control, but suddenly a strong wind came up and blew it in a different direction,” Jack said.

The fire ran over the mountain and into the valley, where there was no access for vehicles carrying firefighting equipment.

The flames threatened houses, warehouses and a nursery, and at one stage burnt bales at the Rockland chicken farm.

“We have been experiencing wind the whole week; it is very strong,” said Jack, explaining the difficulties facing the 15 firefighters on the scene. “The whole of Uitenhage is engulfed in smoke.”

A South African Forestry Company plantation nearby did not appear to be in immediate danger.

No injuries have been reported so far and no damage to structures.
All firefighters in the region are on standby.

Working on Fire, an organisation funded by the government’s expanded public works programme, said it was deployed to help fight the fire.

A light drizzle has moved into the area and it is hoped that this will bring relief.

Fire cuts power in Klein Karoo

Meanwhile, technicians were battling to restore power in parts of the Klein Karoo left without electricity after a fire, Eskom said on Friday.

The fire in Waboomskraal, behind George, burnt down two wooden structures carrying electricity on Thursday night, plunging into darkness Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, De Rust and Dysseldorp.

Spokesperson Eone de Villiers said the fire damage had been repaired, but technicians were still experiencing problems with one of the power stations.

Eskom had hoped to have power restored by mid-morning on Friday, but was now aiming for noon.—Sapa

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