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Minister Barbara Creecy commends firefighters for efforts to bring Overberg blaze under control

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Minister Barbara Creecy commends firefighters for efforts to bring Overberg blaze under control

Three observation aircraft and two Huey helicopters and a Black Hawk have been deployed since Saturday to provide additional aerial firefighting capability.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, January 11, 2022 / APO Group / –

Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Ms Minister Barbara Creecy praised some 300 firefighters who have been fighting the blaze in the Overberg region of the Western Cape since Saturday.

The fire, which reportedly started at the Department’s pine plantation in the Kleinmond area, has destroyed more than 4,000 hectares of vegetation.

“The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is observing with concern the fire that broke out in Kleinmond in the Western Cape. As a matter of course, the Area Fire Protection Association (Overberg) is expected to compile a fire report on the facts related to the source / origins of the fire, Minister Creecy said.

“In the interest of public accountability, the Director General of the Department has asked the Acting Executive Director of SANParks to conduct an assessment of the Kleinmond fire. SANParks services have been hired as they have internal capacities to carry out an evaluation of this nature. The scope of the assessment will include the origins and causes of the fire, if there were fire breaks and other preventive measures and any other factor that could have exacerbated the fire, ”said the Minister.

Once the evaluation has been received and processed by the Department, the findings and recommendations will be made public.

The Fire Work Department is on the ground and air resources continue to assist with suppression efforts at the Klienmond fire in the Overberg District of the Western Cape.

Working on Fire has deployed 169 firefighters and management, including helicopter pilots and support personnel, five fire trucks, two transport buses and three bakkies to assist fire authorities in Overberg (Kleinmond) with ongoing fire suppression efforts. from Saturday January 8th. 2022. A total of 116 additional firefighters from local municipalities have been deployed.

Since Saturday, three observation aircraft and two Huey and one Black Hawk helicopters have been deployed to provide additional aerial fire suppression capability. Additional air assets remain on hold at Stellenbosch Airfield and Newlands Fire Base. Helicopters and planes have already made 284 drops of water during 65 hours in the air.

Our WoF teams are assisting the Overberg District Municipality, Overstrand Municipality, Provincial Disaster Management, Cape Nature and the Department.

One structure has reportedly burned down, with no loss of life so far.

Since the summer fire season officially began in the Western Cape on December 1, 2021, including Kleinmond, the team has helped fight and extinguish 22 fires across the province.

The fire in the Kleinmond area of ​​Overberg has been fueled by high temperatures and hurricane-force winds. The forest fire is also believed to have burned most intensely in areas plagued with invasive exotic vegetation. However, the fynbos, which is destroyed during a forest fire, depends on fire to germinate and thrive.

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