Plettenberg Bay wildfire. (Photo Ewald Stander)

In The News South Africa

Devastating fire sweeps through Plettenberg Bay

Several Plettenberg Bay homes were destroyed and residents evacuated as a massive wildfire swept through the coastal holiday town on Tuesday.

The fire initially broke out on Friday on what is known as the Old Plett Timbers property in Wittedrift on the outskirts of the coastal holiday town, but was declared contained by Monday.

But due to very dry — temperatures rising to more than 30 Degrees Celcious — and windy conditions Tuesday it flared up again and became out of control from about 2pm.

A wall of fire could be seen across the Wittedrift area from town as the sun set and by 8pm it had moved towards the N2 at the Old Nick complex.

Firefighters from across the region combined efforts to contain the fire.

According to members of local fire support groups, by 7pm at least three homes in the Wittedrift area on the Kwanokuthula side had been raised and several residents evacuated in the area.

Plett South Fire Management Unit member Stephen Ritky said earlier that the property where the fire had broken out had been a concern as there were large quantities of wood shavings in the area. He added that firefighters battled to completely put the fire out as it continued to burn below the surface with little smoke visible.

“This happens until the wind picks up and then embers go high and far,” Ritky said.

While firefighters managed to maintain the fire relatively quickly, it flared up several times over the weekend and then again yesterday afternoon.

Working on Fire (WoF) – an initiative by the Department of Environmental to assist authorities in fighting veld and forest fires – spokesman Lauren Howard said that aerial resources had been deployed on various occasions since Sunday, including a spotter plane, a Huey helicopter as well as a 802 air tractor bomber, to douse the flames.

WoF firefighters were also deployed to assist Bitou fire and rescue services.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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