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National News

Garden Route Fires: Six Dead More Critically Injured

knysna fire

Heavy berg winds coupled with lack of rain and dry heat has caused numerous wildfires to start in the Garden Route. Since Wednesday 500-800 firefighters have been battling twenty-six separate fires in the region.

Sadly today saw another death of 63 year old John Blaauw, bringing the death toll up to six people. Instances of wildfire have since spread to the Humansdorp, Hankey, Loerie, Thornhill, Schoenmakerskop, and Summerstrand regions.

Knysna Fire Map

Map of fires on Garden Route as of Midnight 10/6/2017. Credit: Imgur.com -CataclysmZA

An estimated 600 houses have been burnt in the blaze, a more accurate figure will be released when all fires have been extinguished. Woodridge College has mostly burnt down and at least four large farms have razed as the fire made its way towards Loerie. The number of residents displaced has not been fully determined yet.

The fires top speed is estimated to have been around 30km/h when windspeeds were at their highest. An estimated 10,000 hectares of land has already been burnt. Arson is not suspected by police or firefighters in the area and police have put out a warning about fake news which is claiming arson caused the blaze.

Due to heavy firefighting in the area, Knysna is now experiencing acute water shortages, with only 28 days estimated supply remaining. This may also affect electricity distribution in the area with the dam only 31% full.

Donations Still Needed

Donations are still being accepted for water, food, energy drinks and eye drops for the firefighters in the area. Contact the NMBM or Kouga offices for more information.

The Lions Club in Ramsgate is accepting donations of food, blankets, clothes and monetary donations which can be dropped of at C-side Gas, if you would like to donate call Johann Bentley 0825499451. The Lions Club in Gillits has a truck coming on Monday to Port Shepstone and Margate enroute to Knysna.

EFT your donation to:
Account: Lions Club International District 410C
Bank: FNB
Acc Number: 62322430232
Branch: Westville – 221526
Ref: Fire and Flood

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