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Fire near St Francis Bay contained but not yet under control

The fire near the Oyster Bay road just outside St Francis Bay has been contained but is not yet under control.

Motorists are further advised to avoid the Oyster Bay road from both sides as visibility remains poor.

All stakeholders worked together well throughout the day, as the fire continues to smoulder and flare up often.

Whilst the helicopter and spotter airplane had to stand down this afternoon due to the time limit imposed on their operations, a new crew arrived from George and will be airborne until sunset tonight.

Kouga Fire Chief Dewald Barnard reports that the fire is contained but not under control.

It is estimated that around 1000 hectares burned today. At the time of this report, there was no loss of life, livestock or homes.

The fire is still active between the Buffelsbos farm and the dunes, past Buffelsbos near the second wind turbine.

The ever-changing wind conditions are expected to calm down through the night. Emphasis will be placed on extinguishing the area between the farm and the dune.

The area further South was attended to first and the terrain is very difficult for vehicles to reach.

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A number of fire-fighters and some Working on Fire crew need to stand down for the night, but there will be boots on the ground to continue mopping up, monitoring and preventing flare-ups and spotting on the North side of the Oyster Bay road.

The air support will also be active tomorrow, should it be necessary.

During the day, a total of approximately 100 crew, including fire-fighters from the Kouga Fire Department, Sarah Baartman West FPA, the Disaster Volunteer Group (including the NSRI) and Eskom, as well as local farmers and their staff, assisted. This also included around 50 Working on Fire crew.

With the help of the Village Square Superspar and St Francis Links, the DVG arranged and delivered meals and beverages for all people on the ground.

Barnard requests that the public and onlookers avoid the Oyster Bay road from both sides. During times of very poor visibility, the area is dangerous and such traffic interferes with emergency vehicle services.

Kouga Mayor Horatio Hendricks visited the area today, along with Cllr Daniel Benson, Cllr Timothy Jantjies, Cllr Brenton Williams and ward councillor Ben Rheeder.

Hendricks thanked everyone for the assistance and concerns.

He asked the public to remain calm and await official information, which will be released as circumstances change.

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