How did the Tsitsikamma fire start?

Light drizzle helped contain the massive fire that is raging along the Garden Route yesterday, with fire fighters battling the blaze along the Southern Cape coastal zone.

The fire started on 23 October in the Lottering area to the west of Storms River. A second series of fires started due to lightning between Storms River and Clarkson on 29 October.

The current fire spread over 80 km from Coldstream in the west to Palmietvlei (near Humansdorp) in the east. The total area affected is approximately 40 000 ha of which the burn scar is approximately 6000 ha.

The main objective of suppression activities has been to safeguard communities, lives and infrastructure.

Total population affected in the area is estimated at 12 000 people.

To date no fatalities, serious injuries or loss of infrastructure has been reported. Serious damage has been caused to plantations , waterworks and fence lines.

No communities are under threat at present. The key focus areas are Coldstream, Storms River and Clarkson.

Current status at various incidents in the area from West to East:

* Coldstream – lightning strike (4/11/2018). Teams on fireline.

* Petrusville -Fire contained and mopping up taking place.

* Tsitsikamma National Park – Contained and monitored.

* Boskor- No active fires at the moment and mopping up is taking place.

* Storms River village – No active fires and mopping up is taking place.

* Storms River Petro Port- Fire contained and crews patrolling.

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* Thornham and Nompumelelo -Crews patrolling and attending to flare ups.

* Soekoeshoek community- Were evacuated yesterday (4/11/2018). No active fires. Area declared safe and communities returned home.

* Sanddriff- Active Fires North of N2 but no threat to the community. Crews on fireline.

* Tsitsikamma Lodge and surrounded communities- Crews patrolling and tending to flare-ups.

* Koomasbos- Fire contained and mopping up continious.

* Hermanuskraal & Kwaaibrand- No active fires and situation being monitored. Community water supply damaged, temporary water supply provisions in place.

* Witelsbos- Active firelines being attended too.

* Woodlands- No active fires and community safe, monitoring.

* Kareedouw-lighting strike fire – (4/11/2018) contained and situation being monitored.

* Clarkson- Active fire that is potential threat to the community, monitoring fire and firecrews on standby.

* Palmietvlei- Active fireline attended to.

Photo: Clive Wright

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