Eastern Cape regions evacuated as fires approach

Large parts of the Eastern Cape are being evacuated in the path of runaway fires, the Working on Fire programme said on Wednesday morning.

Spokesperson Evelyn Holtzhausen said the regions being evacuated include the area between Humansdorp and Hankey and the Sunnyside area near the Van Stadens River bridge.

“A fire is burning along the N2 highway towards Port Elizabeth near the Van Stadens River bridge,” he said. “The fire is out of control and the police are evacuating people from the head of the fire, which is threatening homes.”

A fire in Longmore is out of control and is threatening houses. A fire in the Tsitsikamma area has jumped a control line and is threatening the Boskor sawmill, which has been evacuated, Holtzhausen said.

Another fire in Waboomskraal is spreading to George and threatening smallholdings.

“People are being evacuated, but there have been some reports that some people are reluctant to move.
The police have been called in to help evacuate people.”

Fires in Uniondale are burning over a 40km front and are out of control, while a fire is also burning in the Swartberg De Hoek area.

At the moment, 17 fires are raging in the Western Cape. All are out of control.

Commercial farming, forestry, mountain catchments, tourism operations and industrial facilities have been affected by the fires.

Holtzhausen said fires that had been burning in Hout Bay and Villiersdorp in the Western Cape were extinguished by rain.

“Working on Fire crews are on the case and are working with local firefighting agencies and conservationists,” Holtzhausen said. “These guys are exhausted. They have been fighting fires since Friday.”—Sapa

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