South Africa – The public has been urged to follow instructions from firefighters managing the wildfire in Simon’s Town .
“We have a strong and professional team on the ground, and we request that the public do not panic and work with us .
“Our officials will request residents well in advance if they need to evacuate, and all firefighting decisions being made is with the safety of the public as number one priority,” Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell said on Wednesday afternoon .
The fire has been burning since Tuesday morning and firefighting efforts are currently focused on the flank moving from Castle Rock towards Simon’s Town .
The Provincial Disaster Management Centre has availed provincial aerial resources to the Simon’s Town fire .
Currently, there are four Huey helicopters and a spotter plane, as well as an Oryx helicopter from the South African Defence Force, deployed .
“Staff from Working on Fire, Volunteer Wildfire Services, NCC Environmental Services, the City of Cape Town and South African National Parks (SANParks) have through Tuesday night worked tirelessly to protect people and property until they could be supported with aerial water bombing again since daybreak today,” the MEC said .
While Simon’s Town is being addressed, several wildfires in the Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) also need attending to .
Firefighters from CWDM Fire Services, CapeNature, Winelands Fire Protection Association, NCC Environmental Services and aerial resources from Leading Edge has been engaged in active firefighting on several fronts .
The provincial government said a fire is burning through dense and inaccessible vegetation along the Berg River in the vicinity of the Berg River Dam outside Franschhoek .
Efforts are focused on preventing the spread to farms and nearby infrastructure .
A fire in Du Toit’s Kloof outside Paarl is currently mostly contained, with ground crews attending to isolated hot spots, monitoring for flareups, and doing general mopping up work .
The Western Cape Provincial Government has budgeted R16 million for the current wildfire season .
“Fires due to natural causes, such as lightning strikes or rockfalls, account for less than 3% of all wildfires .
The other 97% is caused either intentionally, 25%, or through negligence, 72% .
These statistics show the huge role ordinary citizens can play to protect not only our natural environment, but also our personal safety and infrastructure, from runaway wildfires,” the MEC said .
Bredell asked that people report any sighting of a fire as quickly as possible to the closest authorities .
“Experience over many years has taught us that the faster the initial response, the better our chances are of successfully controlling a fire before it spirals out of control,” he said .
The following numbers can be contacted to report any fire sightings:
City of Cape Town: 107 or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone
Overberg: 028 425 1690
West Coast: 022 433 8700
Garden Route: 044 805 5071
Central Karoo: 023 414 2603
Cape Winelands: 021 887 4446
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