Rain helps extinguish Hermanus fires

Rain helps extinguish Hermanus fires

16 January 2008

published by www.buanews.gov.za

Cape Town, South Africa – Strong rains have helped to put out the wild fires which threatened mountains in Hermanus in the Western Cape, the Overstrand Municipality said Wednesday.

The fire that started on Tuesday morning threatened the suburbs of Northcliff and Hermanus Heights and destroyed at least three houses.

Head of protection services at the Overstrand Municipality, Johan Kritzinger said the rain came at the right time and totally extinguished the blaze.

“The fire services battled to extinguish the fire as the wind made it impossible for helicopters to assist. Strong winds measured earlier at 120km/h prevented us from using helicopters to fight it.”

The South African Weather Service predicted a 30 percent chance of showers in Hermanus on Wednesday morning.

Mr Kritzinger said they had about 400 firefighters, including volunteers and several fire engines, helping them battle the blaze.

Hermanus communications manager, Fanie Krige told BuaNews that several people had to be evacuated from their homes after the blaze flared up, fuelled by a strong south easterly wind.

He said the cause of the fire was unknown.

“No serious injuries had been reported, although some rescue personnel had suffered smoke inhalation.”

Mr Krige urged residents to stay out of the area. “This is because in conditions like this it’s quite possible that the roots of plants are still burning underground in the fynbos area,” he said.

The extent of the fire or the damage had not yet been determined, but according to Mr Krige there was massive damage to fynbos and veld.

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