UPDATE: Parts of N2 closed - Strong winds fan raging Garden Route fires, urgent calls for support

2017-06-08 07:23 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Parts of the Garden Route are expected to be declared a disaster zone, as a raging fire has engulfed the towns of Sedgefield, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay.

NEWS24 LIVE: #KnysnaFires still not under control

The N2 between George and Knysna was closed for most of Wednesday, and had briefly opened on Thursday morning but parts have since been closed after a tree has since fallen over.

Knysna Municipality also reported that "A tree has fallen on Welbedacht Lane on the N2. The road between Brenton and the white bridge are closed as well as the road to George".

SEE: UPDATE: Dire forecast of strong winds and no rain for fire-ravaged Garden Route

The Eden District Municipality has confirmed a farm worker, his wife and their son died in the fire on Wednesday.  

Weather Reports of strong wind at 35 knots or about 65km/h, along with heavy smoke have made aerial support difficult at this point. 

The fires in George are said to be under control, but Knysna remains on high alert, following an evacuation of residents, with Plett also expected to be evacuated.

The Eden district is calling for support and assistance with the following hotline being open: 0448055071.

Those needing assistance can call the following Emergency Numbers:

Ambulance Services: 10177
Knysna 044 382 5613/083 459 9806
George 044 802 2500/084 388 3473
ER24 080 022 5599
SAPS 10111

Bitou/Plett 044 501 3066
George 044 801 6300
Hessequa 028 713 8073
Kannaland 028 551 1023
Knysna 044 302 6348
Mossel Bay 044 606 5031/2
Oudtshoorn 044 272 2221

Working on Fires posted this video at about 04:00 on Thursday, 08 June, showing the just how intensely the fires are being fanned by the wind.

In an update posted at 06:00 on Thursday WOF states, “The right flank of the Pezula Golf Estate, which ran the risk of jumping over to private property is now secured. At this stage the left flank is the main focus as the fire is running out of control in the Pezula Private Estate with houses set alight.

“Currently crew from Working on Fire, Oudtshoorn Municipality, South African Defence Force and the Overstrand Municipality are in the area.

“According to the IC: the focus area's are Pezula heading towards Noetzie, Upper Old Place, Simola, Knysna Heights and the Provincial Hospital (area surrounding the hospital is under control but still being monitored)

“The area is not safe for residents to return back to their homes. 10 Go George Buses and SAPS officials remain in the area to evacuate more people should the need arise.

“Cellphone towers still down.” 

NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon confirmed that the NSRI has engaged emergency services in Knysna and Plett and is assisting on all fronts in putting out the fire.   

Meanwhile in Cape Town the storm has subsided to a certain degree, with extreme cold setting in - Read Thursday’s weather report here.

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