Jeffreys Bay
St Francis Fire Fighters holding the line

The SANDF Oryx helicopters have dumped water and poured a wet line along the areas of concern near Thysbaai, just outside of St Francis Bay.

They have been on the ground since just after 11 am, because the situation is being managed very well by the Working on Fire ground crew in that area at this stage.

“The Cessna (with excellent spotter pilot Siem Venter) continues to monitor and communicate with ground crews,” said Liezl Clause.

Because of limited daily flying hours allowed, the plan is to go out later for a further good douse before sunset, unless flare ups in that area occur.

“When you see lots of smoke and wonder why there aren’t any aircraft in the air, it’s because the situation has been assessed and determined to be “inside fires” which burn themselves out,” added Clause.

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“There are between 80 and 120 professional firefighters either on the fire line or mopping up 24 hours every day.

The weather plays a major role. Wind direction and wind speed influence the situation all the time. What may be looking good in the morning could develop into a complete emergency situation again,” said Elza Van Lingen, the leader of the DA in Kouga.

“A few drops of rain may not even get through the very thick layer of undergrowth or dead leaves under the thicket or the 8 m high rooikrans canopy.

We need those choppers and the support of the various Working on Fire, voluntary, professional and municipal fire fighting teams for at least another week. Any deviation from the real message can cause the recall of support in air or HR resources which would be fatal.

There is a team of volunteers packing food for the teams on site – three meals a day. Our donor support is drying up and we please need you to make a contribution today and tomorrow and Monday,” added Van Lingen.

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