What you need to know about the #KnysnaFire

Many people have been evacuated and some admitted to hospital after raging fires hit Knysna and surrounding areas on Wednesday evening, 7 June 2017.

Here’s more information on the wildfires that have left the Garden Route in an apocalyptic state.

Six deaths have been confirmed by Police

Knysna-Plett Herald reported that five people have died so far due to the fire. A man and his wife and their son, could not escape the fire and died in Rheenendal on Wednesday, 7 June. An elderly man who lives in Brenton had a heart-attack and died on the same day. Police spokesperson, Sergeant Chris Spies also confirmed that a four-year-old girl and her father were found dead on Thursday morning, 8 May, in Welbedaght.

10 000 people including hospital patients have been evacuated

Up to 10 000 people have been evacuated to safe areas. Sergeant Chris Spies told Knysna-Plett Herald that patients from the Knysna provincial hospital were evacuated on Wednesday evening and are now being looked after at Loerie Park in the squash courts, ablution facilities and the club house. Humanitarian support is currently being co-ordinated for an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 residents of the greater Knysna area after the devastating fires.

21 emergency centres to be set up

Spies also said that 21 emergency centres would be set up but advised that in the meantime, homeless people can go to community halls in Chris Hani, Khayalethu, Loerie Park and an area, which has been set up just behind Mitchell’s Brewery in Waterfront Drive.

The fires are still not under control

Fire chief Clinton Manuel said that the Knysna fires are still not under control, but the rain which is now falling will help and additional resources are onboard. The bush wildfires, driven by winds in excess of 50 km an hour, destroyed property in 20 suburbs. Firefighters from Cape Town, the Overberg, Overstrand, George, Oudtshoorn and all of Knysna’s fire-fighting teams are working with Working On Fire (WOF), including the Southern Cape Fire protection services. The fires have spread to George and Plettenberg Bay.

Some roads are still closed

Roads to Rheenendal and to Brenton are still closed. The N2, Main Road, is now open. Manuel warned people to drive very carefully because of the thick smog.

Fire-fighting operations have been broken into six sectors to make it more manageable

  • They are Elandskraal which includes Karatara and Rheenendal,
  • The Concordia sector which includes all the Northern areas like White Location, Dam-se-Bos.
  • The Pezula sector which includes Fernwood, Hunter’s Home and Hornlee
  • The Belvidere Centre which includes Brenton-on-Lake and Brenton-on-Sea and Buffalo Bay
  • A town sector has also been allocated which includes areas from Pezula to Eastford, Welbedaght to Knysna Heights.
  • The sixth sector is Kruisfontein which includes areas out of town towards Plettenberg Bay.

The public is urged not to phone the Municipality Fire Services and Police

Many people have been contacting the fire services number and Manuel says they have been inundated with calls and it has caused the entire phone system to crash.

Some shops are open for people to get supplies

Many small shops are closed in Knysna, Checkers is only allowing five people into the store at one time owing to a staff shortage. Big shops like Pick n Pay and Food Lovers Market are open.

People have been urged to save water

Electricity has also been affected by the fires

If you would like to donate to the Knysna Fire victims, here are the details below:

The Knysna-Plett Herald has been inundated with phone calls with people offering donations to those who lost their belongings in the fires.
While no single venue has been set up yet, people wanting to donate cash, clothes, blankets, food or anything else can contact the Knysna Lions. They are located at Jemb Jo’s in Queens street.

Contact Carl or Mandy 044 3822658/0763433657/ 076 693 4928

Knysna Lions banking details:
Account Name: Knysna Lions
Bank: FNB
References: Fire
Acc. No. 52701050280

South African Weather Service reported that 37 millimeters of rain fell at Cape Town airport. Other areas recorded as much as 131 mm of rain.

For the latest updates or breaking news, please visit KnysnaPlettHerald.




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