Helicopters brought in to fight raging fire

Helicoptersbrought in to fight raging fire

19 January 2005

publishedby www.iol.co.za 

It took more than 50 people, two helicopters and about a dozen fire engines to bring a fire in the Mostertsdrift area of Stellenbosh in the Western Cape under control on Tuesday, after they had battled the blaze for nearly two days.

While no one was injured in the fire, a large tract of fynbos was destroyed and the blaze at one stage moved close to the Lanzerac Manor Hotel.

One garage’s thatched roof near the hotel caught fire, but was quickly extinguished.

High alert:
A helicopter drags a bambi bucket through the air over dune scrub that has been reduced to ashes near Macassar in the Western Cape. Photo: Andrew Ingram, Cape Times

‘The fire seems to be under control now’ Assistant operational fire chief Tasso Steyn said: “The fire was reported at 5pm on Monday near Lanzerac Manor Hotel and then spread rapidly because of the wind.

“The fire was believed to be under control at one stage but then flared up again early on Tuesday morning.

“The fire seems to be under control now. However, we are keeping our platoons on alert in case something unexpected happens.”

Lanzerac Hotel duty manager Frans Owens said: “The fire was quite big with smoke everywhere. You could hear the sound of helicopters and sirens.

“It was scary, but luckily our estate was safely outside of the fire path.

“We just put our thatched roof sprinkler systems on in case of flying splinters.”

The Helderberg fire department also responded to a blaze that broke out on Tuesday just after 1pm in the dunes at Macassar.
A heavy blanket of smoke covered the dunes and lingered over a section of Macassar Road.

Assistant chief officer Michael Brand said: “A water tanker and three pumps were dispatched to the scene along with 22 firefighters.

“It’s quite a large fire and the wind keeps moving it about. At one stage we thought it could move to Baden Powell Drive and then the next it could’ve moved over the dunes to the other side and maybe hit the shacks. Luckily it’s been contained thus far.”

  • This article was originally published on page 3 of The Cape Times on January 19, 2005


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