Within the past two weeks the Kouga Fire Department has, on three separate occasions, deal with fires that have broken out in Paradise Beach.
Two weeks ago one of the Neighbourhood Watch members noticed clouds of smoke rising from behind the high wall of Paradise Estates, adjoining the airfield.
He immediately used his radio to raise the alarm. Within minutes more volunteers had converged at the site of the thick smoke, which by now had increased in density.
Fifteen minutes later they were joined by a fire engine, which was earlier dispatched by the Kouga Fire Department. With the assistance of a few bystanders, the blaze was soon brought under control.
On investigation, it was determined that a substantial dump of garden refuse covered with dozens of glass bottles was the source of the flames.
Late last Sunday night a Chinese Fire Lantern landed in dense bush, thereby igniting the surrounding highly flammable foliage.
The Kouga Fire Department once again brought the blaze under control.
On Tuesday at the Paradise Horse Farm, a worker attempted a controlled refuse burn within close proximity of the huge thatched farm house.
The resulting conflagration threatened to engulf the entire area.
Four fire engines, aided by smaller emergency vehicles descended on the site and were stretched to their limits in their battle to contain the flames.
Of much greater danger however was the gusting wind carrying burning embers, and depositing them in the adjoining fields.
Many smaller fires flared up, some more than 50 meters from the main house. Emergency radio calls, recruiting and summonsing additional volunteers to form bucket brigades in order to douse the hundred plus small smoldering fires, were positively responded to.
More than forty residents and visitors, armed with buckets of all shapes and sizes, carted water from the troughs and local pump, until only smoke remained.
Over the years, unchecked proliferation of invasive Rooikrans and Port Jackson on green-belt areas and private stands in Paradise Beach has led to the expansion and encroachment of highly flammable dense foliage throughout most areas.
By: John Wiehahn