Ten lives have so far been lost to this year’s ongoing Garden Route fires, which have so far destroyed more than 90 000 hectares of land. Until yesterday, when another victim perished in a blaze, the fires had claimed the lives of nine people, including a pregnant woman in the town of Farleigh on 29 October.

The victims of the fires included two adults, Elsabe Florina Windvogel and Lesley Andra Bewee, and six children, namely, Eljade Jaylene Windvogel, Ethan Calin-Lee Windvogel, Aliyah Simone Sime-Leandre Oelf, Nalaya Nashay Oelf, and Niah Na-Lee Oelf.

One unborn baby, who was to be named Andrea Oelf, died in Farleigh when her mother, Nalanai Brienne Oelf, perished in one of the fires.

Sandra Davidson, the wife of SANParks employee Hendrik Davidson, died in the most recent blaze yesterday.

Her body was found razed by a fire that also burned down three houses in the Beervlei SANParks staff village where she lived with her husband. She was transferred from George Hospital to Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town to receive emergency care, but sadly passed away.

“We are saddened at losing Sandra, our thoughts and prayers are with the Davidson family during this trying time. Our team will continue to provide the necessary support to the family and all affected people,” said the Garden Route National Park Manager, Paddy Gordon. “SANParks would like to thank Pine Lake Marina for offering discounted interim accommodation to the affected families including SANParks staff, pensioners and private residents. Costs are absorbed by SANParks through its insurance company.”

The Garden Route has been rocked by rapidly-spreading wildfires since October, resulting in the evacuations of thousands from the various affected areas.

Last year’s fires devasted 22 000 hectares of land, which is four times smaller than this year.

Picture: Working on Fire/Twitter


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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.