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Media Release: Update on Karoo National Park fire

Date: 2013-10-14

Park Rangers and two Working on Fire (WoF) teams returned to fight three separate fires over the course of the weekend and by yesterday they had all been extinguished.  The wind had, in the meantime, subsided.  The WoF teams will remain on the scene until tomorrow to monitor the situation and ensure that the fire doesn’t flare up again.  The total size of the area now affected by the fire is estimated at between 5 000 and 6 000 hectares.

The blaze started on a neighbouring farm and a northerly wind blew the flames towards the Park.  There was never any danger to guests as the wind had been blowing the fire and smoke away from the rest camp. 

The Park’s Conservation team fought the fire from Saturday until Tuesday last week. Support from the Working on Fire Department was requested and a team of fire fighters was dispatched.  At its peak, a total of 62 people were deployed and consisted of Park Rangers, two Working on Fire teams, Transnet staff and the Beaufort West Fire Department.  Aerial support was provided by the Southern Cape Fire Protection Agency who water bombed some of the crucial fires that endangered infrastructure such as the Sentech tower and crucial radio communications stations in the central Karoo which belongs to various government entities including the Park’s own.

Karoo Fire
The devastation caused by the fire. Photographed by Christo van Zyl. 

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 041 508 5422

Fayroush Ludick
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks   
Tel: 041 508 5422;  Cell: 082 888 0201