Firefighters applauded for braving raging Rietvlei and wine estate wildfires


Firefighters are drawing praise for containing the fire that engulfed the Helderberg Mountain slopes at Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West in recent days.

In its wake, fire rescue teams from the Cape Winelands District will conduct disaster management in the area to ensure no further flare-ups. Their efforts have drawn praise from Western Cape premier Alan Winde and Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Fires started on Wednesday, 8 June

The wildfires started on Wednesday last week, which firefighters brought under control. It broke out again on Saturday before spreading to the Helderberg Nature Reserve, less than three kilometers away.

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Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) firefighters were able to stand down late on Sunday evening. Subsequently, good showers over the Cape Winelands snuffed out the blaze slightly.

“The rain came and dampened the open ground, but it was not enough to extinguish the smouldering coals completely. The CWDM’s Fire Services and firefighters on the ground will continue frequent inspections. They will do this in vulnerable areas such as pine plantations and areas with dense vegetation.”

CWDM Fire Services spokesperson Jo-Anne Otto

Winde praises firefighters across the province

“The Mayor and I had the opportunity today to thank our firefighters. We acknowledge the others putting out fires elsewhere in the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve.

“These fires resulted in mass evacuations and people losing their homes. So, we thank the residents who provided support by donating essentials. Additionally, we thank them for providing accommodation during these difficult times.”

Western Cape premier Alan Winde

The Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) are in full swing in the affected areas. The non-profit organisation is searching for wild animals, likely injured or displaced by the wildfires.

According to the SPCA, not many animals have surfaced as yet. However, they expect certain wild animals to crawl out within a few days.

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