The devastating fire in the Hemel-En-Aarde Valley and Volmoed areas are still ongoing and are yet to be contained. Although the Overstrand Municipality reported that the Betty’s Bay fire had been contained, the Franskraal fire – which previously caused the municipality to initiate an emergency evacuation of the area – is proving to be very challenging, with its lines spreading rapidly.
“Although good progress is being made, the Hermanus Fires are still very active and containment has not yet been reached. Fire is contained to the northern side of the mountain currently no threat to residential areas. All teams came safely off the lines last night and this morning,” the municipality said.
Two firefighters were injured on the front line on Saturday – one sprained his ankle and the other suffered from smoke inhalation. Both firefighters were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
“Overnight crews maintained the active fire lines with one flare-up on the Karwyderskraal division,” Overstrand Municipality said. “We are very grateful and appreciative that committed support is still coming in from municipalities from all over the Western Cape to relieve the local teams.”
Day shift crews have been deployed to the Oudebosch while infrastructure protection takes place in the affected residential areas of Betty’s Bay.
“Wind remains a threat for flare-ups. Total personnel count of approximately 140, including Incident Management Team, deployed,” the municipality reported. “We are aware of the water and electricity problems in Betty’s Bay. We are attending to the problem, but are hampered by technical challenges. Water tanker locations have been communicated via SMS. No clarity on when Eskom will restore electricity.”
Firefighters also had a trying time fighting a flare up at Kardywerskraal on Saturday, but reports reflect that no flare ups have been forthcoming on Sunday.
Numerous fire-fighting teams, bombers, choppers and resources were deployed to the Hemel-En-Aarde Valley on Saturday, and again on Sunday. They have the support of the local community (Rural Safety) in terms of heavy vehicles and crews. Due to the extent of fire and the high risk it poses, several interventions are being executed while continuous flare-ups are challenging the teams.
An appeal to the public was issued to avoid the area.
– All roads in Hangklip-Kleinmond (including R44 Clarence Drive) are open.
– All roads in Greater Hermanus (including the R320 Hemel-en-Aarde valley) are open.
– R43 Hermanus to Gansbaai remains open.
– R43 Franskraal intersection at Uilkraalsmond
– R43 Franskraal towards Baardskeerdersbos closed due to fire burning on both sides of the road.
Traffic officials are on scene to monitor or divert traffic. Officials appeal to the public not to go sight-seeing today while the mop up operations take place, those who do not need to be on the roads please stay off them to keep roads clear for emergency vehicles.
Donations such as food and medical supplies are still needed for the firefighters who are battling the blaze.
Donations can be dropped off directly at Crassula Hall in Betty’s Bay, and the Hermanus Community Policing Forum will accept donations on a 24-hour basis at the Hermanus Fire and Rescue and Disaster Management offices in 14 Mussel Road, Hermanus Industrial Area.
Donations may also be made to the Overstrand Municipality Executive Mayor’s Special Fund to assist the Betty’s Bay, Hangklip, Pringle Bay and Rooiels areas.
ACCOUNT HOLDER: Overstrand Municipality
ACCOUNT TYPE: Current Account
BANK: ABSA Bank
BRANCH CODE: 334-812
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 3220 000 035
PAYMENT REFERENCE: Mayoral Fund-B/Bay Fire followed by either the words (**reward**) or (**support**).
Emergency Call Centre 0283122400, 0283138000, 028 3138996
Two @wo_fire spotter planes, a huey helicopter, two fixed wing air tractor bombers and firefighters are on scene
— Working on Fire (@wo_fire) January 13, 2019