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Garden Route Fires update - 09 June 2017

09 June 2017

Knysna is still a community in tears this morning after the devastation caused by the fires two nights ago.  More than 500 houses were burnt and over 7,000 people evacuated.

Sounds of the Oryx flying over the Knysna estuary, part of the Garden Route National Park were the first sounds heard this morning. The winds have died down and choppers can now fly to extinguish left-over flames.

All SANParks rangers are assisting to fight the fire. So says Paddy Gordon, Park Manager of the Garden Route National Park ‘Our rangers have been at it for the last 48 hours with very little to no sleep. Other resources include our Planning Division which form part of the Regional JOC (Joint Operating Committee), boats used to ferry people, fire trucks and others. 

Rain yesterday, 08 June 2017 in the Garden Route was not enough to bring the necessary relief to the towns affected by the fire. 

Damage in the Garden Route National Park thus far:

The fire in Hoekwil  spotted on the 07th June 2017 was very close to Ebb & Flow North and is still smouldering but teams are on site. 

Fire in Knysna was mainly in residential and farm areas but roads leading to some parts of the Knysna forest Gouna and Diepwalle were closed due to the fire. 

Our teams are monitoring high seas in Tsitsikamma very closely and the temporary restaurant (Cattle Baron) in the main camp remains closed until after the storm. 

SANParks is playing a huge role in the JOC (Joint Operating Committee) which was yesterday escalated to Provincial status. 

Our prayers and thoughts go out to colleagues, stakeholders and families whose houses were burnt down. 

Social media footage of the fire in Harkerville: https://www.facebook.com/adrian.carelse.77/videos/pcb.1437548986288083/1866461760239492/?type=3&theater

Media contact, Nandi Mgwadlamba, 078 702 9663, nandi.mgwadlamba@sanparks.org 

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