Hundred firefighters battle big veld blazes

Hundredfirefighters battle big veld blazes

1 February 2008

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South Africa — Firefighters were kept on highalert throughout the night after more than 100 of them battled two big veldblazes and a number of other smaller grass fires on Thursday.

The fire service also kept a close watch on the Boland and Swartland areas afterthe SA Weather Service warned of conditions “which could lead to thedevelopment and spread of runaway fires”.

Early on Thursday eight fire engines and a water-bombing helicopter rushed tothe Helderberg College in Somerset West, where a blaze had broken out on thepremises.

Rebecca Joubert, personal assistant of the college’s president, Gerald du Preez,said the fire had started at 3am and the cause was still unknown.

“Arson hasn’t been ruled out though. The fire’s not coming towards thecollege,” she said.

“It’s spreading through a plantation and heading to the mountain.”

The Somerset West police station said no complaint about the fire had beenlodged with it, but it was monitoring the situation.

Deon Smit, a station officer at the Cape Town Fire Command and Control Centre,said the fire was brought under control by noon.

He said it had earlier raged uncontrollably and a second firefighting helicopterhad to be called in.

Smit said “quite a large area” had been burning and about 70firefighters fought the flames with 10 fire engines.

He said the area would be monitored throughout the night.

A number of firefighters had also rushed to a blaze along the N7 near PotsdamRoad at noon.

Smit said firefighters and nine fire engines got the grass and bush fire undercontrol.

He said no one was injured in either of the blazes.

Throughout the day firefighters had also battled a veld fire along VanguardDrive and a number of smaller grass fires around the peninsula.

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