Garden Route DM JOC Wildfire Update 2018/11/04

Hessequa Fire Update:
4 November 2018

Branch 1: Boosmansbos
fire has extended east of the Duiwenhoks kloof with mainly mop up work in progress. The northern flank is still active. The western flank is contained and mopping up and monitoring is underway.

Branch 2: Garcia fire
Fire jumped Garcia pass to the east and extended into farm lands to the north east. South is thretening Garcia plantation community which has been evacuated to a stadium in Riverdale. Areas of Garcia plantation to the south and west also remain active fire areas

Branch 3: Kruisriver fire
Has run north over the mountain crest and will shortly burn against branch 2 towards the west. It has also extended to the east and south nearing Broomvlei which was contained earlier.

Approximately 120 fire fighters have been deployed
Arial resourced were deployed and worked effectively today.

Garcia Pass and hiking trails remain closed to the public.

Released by CapeNature on behalf of Hawequa Incident Command

Please note that Cape Nature also worked tirelessly at saving Highlands Lodge.

Garden Route District JOC Fire Update 2018/11/04 @ 20:00

The overall objectives remain the same, which is to ensure the safety of responders, community members and infrastructure. High priority areas for the evening include the Jonkersberg, Noll and Kransbos areas where there is an active fire spreading. Mopping-up operations will continue throughout the evening in all other divisions. Aerial firefighting took place today but not to the level which was anticipated because of poor visibility and strong crosswinds. We are expecting rain from midnight onwards.

JONKERSBERG – The northern flank of the Jonkersberg wildfire has the potential to move into old veld – this could pose some serious threats because old veld burn with higher flames and more intensity than usual. The Jonkersberg eastern flank is currently less than two kilometres from the Outeniqua wildfire.

Enough resources have been deployed to this area to manage the active fire lines and to continue with mopping-up operations.

NOLL (ORIGINAL DE VLUGT FIRE WHICH MERGED WITH THE OUTENIQUA FIRE) – There is an active fire line to the north-eastern part of this area, which is being attended to by ground teams throughout the evening. Aerial resources will assist ground teams tomorrow if the weather conditions are favourable.

DUBBELBERG/BUFFELSNEK/KRANSBOS – PG Bison worked here Spotter and Huey worked here. Mid-afternoon a lot of work was done by the air attack team.

Diepwalle and Kransbos evacuations took place late-afternoon. The evacuations were initially halted because the wind turned favourably for firefighting efforts, but later during the day it turned again which resulted in families being requested to evacuate. Aerial resources will assist ground teams tomorrow if the weather conditions are favourable.

WABOOMSKRAAL – Fire lines moved down the mountain – fortunately lines were controlled and nothing got out of hand. Due to the danger of arching from power lines to earth in smoke columns, firefighters needed to have the 132 KVA and 400KVA temporarily switches off to fight fires.

Highlands Lodge was saved by George and Oudtshoorn firefighters. A small uninhabited wooden structure near Highlands Lodge burnt down.  The line is still being mopped up and will be monitored throughout the night by George and Oudtshoorn firefighters.

BERGPLAAS – A few flare-ups occurred in this area and attended to.

GEORGE – A few flare-ups occurred in this area and attended to.

BEERVLEI – Quiet throughout the day – will be monitored for flare-ups.

KARATARA – Quiet throughout the day – will be monitored for flare-ups.

SEVEN PASSES – A lot of progress was made – not a lot of flare-ups occurred.

RESOURCES AVAILABLE UNTIL 06:00am tomorrow morning

·         Working on Fire (450 Firefighters, 30 vehicles),

·         GRDM Fire (8 Firefighters, 3 vehicles)

·         George Mun Fire              (7 Firefighters, 4 vehicles)

·         Knysna Mun Fire               (6 Firefighters, 3 vehicles)

·         Oudtshoorn Mun Fire (2 Firefighters, 1 vehicle)

·         Cape Pine (16 Firefighters, 6 vehicles)

·         Cape Nature (8 Firefighters, 4 vehicles)

·         SANParks (10 Firefighters, 2 vehicles)

·         PG Bison (110 Firefighters)

·         West Coast DM Fire (12 Firefighters, 4 vehicles)

·         Cape Winelands DM Fire (8 Firefighters, 3 vehicles)

·         Enviro Volunteer Wildfire Services (3 Firefighters, 1 vehicle)

·         Incident Working Group Africa (2 Firefighters, 1 vehicle)

TOTAL: 642 Firefighters, 62 vehicles

AERIAL RESOURCES – Could not be used to full capacity today due to poor visibility caused by a thick layer of smoke in many parts of the Garden Route.

·         3 x WoF Spotters             

·         3 x WoF Helicopters       

·         2 x WoF Bombers

·         1 x SAAF Helicopter


Garden Route District Municipality and Local Municipalities in the region, would like to advise residents and visitors that the discharge of fireworks from any area (including your own backyard) is not permitted at any time. Discharging of any firecrackers or emergency flares for celebratory purposes are also prohibited.

We would also like to appeal to residents and visitors not to use so-called ‘Chinese lanterns’ as these pose a significant fire risk.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) also asks people not to use sky lanterns as they float out to sea and are often reported as emergency flares, which in turn cause Sea Rescue hours of fruitless searching.

Let us work together to make this fire season safe for all.

Please report the setting off of fireworks or the trade of fireworks to the following numbers:

•          Mossel Bay – 044 606 5107

•          George – 044 801 6301

•          Oudtshoorn – 044 203 7800

•          Bitou – 044 533 5000

•          Knysna – 044 302 8911

•          Hessequa – 084  014 1828 / 028 713 8000

•          Kannaland – 044 805 5071

•          Garden Route District Municipality Emergency Call Centre – 044 805 5071

Oudtshoorn power outage update

GOOD NEWS: Eskom is energising the power line to switch back power to Oudtshoorn. Some areas may already have the powe back already and some in a few minues. Should the electricity supply be back again, consumers are requested to use electricity sparingly to avoid an overload of power consumption.

Issued by Oudtshoorn Municipality

Hessequa Fire Media Update
4 November

Garcia fire – Branch I.
Triggerline in Garcia fire has been reached. The fire jumped the R323 into MTO plantations. The evacuation process has been activated by the Hessequa Fire IMT. Partners assisting are EMS, SAPD, Provincial traffic, GRDM fire brigade and taxi owners.
150-200 residents of the Garcia Plantation community will be evacuated to the Riversdale Municipal properties.

Released by CapeNature on behalf of Hessequa Unified Command

Garden Route District Fire JOC Update 2018/11/04 @ 13:30


As a precautionary measure, evacuations of communities at Kransbos (+-60 people to Wittedrift Community hall) and Diepwalle (+-25 people to Hornlee Community hall) have taken place.


MOSSEL BAY/HERBERTSDALE WILDFIRE – Active fire lines, especially on the western flank. Firefighters are actively battling these blazes. Mopping-up operations are underway in other parts of the area. No infrastructure is in danger.

SANDF Oryx and a WoF Huey dropped water on the western flank. Cooler weather conditions are making firefighting operations easier at the moment. Mopping-up operations continue at other flanks. No infrastructure in danger.

OUTENIQUA/DE VLUGT WILDFIRE – Over 86 000 hectares have burned. The current scar is 4 times the size of the 2017 Knysna/Bitou fires (22 000 HA). Currently crews are attending to high-priority flare-ups at all divisions through suppression actions, with a focus on critical areas being Jonkersberg, Noll, Kransbos, Diepwalle and Seven Passes. Mopping-up operations will be taking place throughout the day.

George firefighting crews did an excellent job at safeguarding the Highlands Lodge from danger – crews are still in the area to ensure that people and infrastructure are safeguarded



Crews are monitoring these areas and attending to flare-ups.

Issued by the Garden Route DM JOC.

Contact the Emergency Call Centre on 044 805 5071


It has come to our attention that there are individuals who are going around the community requesting for monetary donations from residents for the people affected by the current fires.

The municipality did not send any officials to ask for money from residents. Please note that this is a SCAM.

We appeal to the public not to give any money to these people and to report any incident to the SA Police at 10111.

Please drop off any food donations to the Knysna Fire Station or the Kitchen at the Sedgefield Municipal Office.


Unified Command including CapeNature, Hessequa Municipality, Protection services.

Current Resources:
140 fire fighters
6 tankers
8 skid units
1 Buffel

Branch 1: Boosmansbos
Fire has extended east of the Duiwenhoeks kloof with an active line burning north east into the kloof.

Branch 2: Garcia fire
Fire jumped Garcia pass to the east and extended into farm lands to the north east. South and South West remain concerns as could threaten Garcia plantation community and the plantation

Branch 3: Kruisriver fire
Has Run north over the mountain crest and will shortly burn against branch 2 towards the north. It has also extended to the east and south nearing Broomvlei.

Arial resourced have been deployed.

Please note Grootvadersbosch and
Garcia Pass and hiking trails remain closed to the public.

Issued by CapeNature on behalf of Hessequa Municipality

Thank you for all donations for our firefighters – we are running short of the following – AAA batteries for headlamps.

Other items required:
– Eyegene
– Game sachets
– Zambuc / lip ice
– Energade / Powerade

Deliver to George Fire Brigade, Mitchell Street (George).

– Issued by the Garden Route DM JOC

Garden Route DM JOC Wildfire Update 2018/11/04 @ 08:15

Today marks the eighth (8th) day since the Joint Operations Centre (JOC) at Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) was activated to coordinate fire operations in the Garden Route. The wildfire has spread over 80 000 hectares. Overall objectives of the GRDM JOC remains to ensure that planning includes tactics to safeguard responders, residents and infrastructure.

There have been no serious injuries to firefighters during the duration of the wildfires. Minor injuries sustained include back, ankle, instances of firefighters being treated for smoke inhalation etc.

Last night the wind died down, but this morning the situation changed again. Firefighters have been required to work tirelessly throughout the night. Additional resources have arrived and are deployed to the high-risk areas.

Outeniqua pass to remain open for the duration of the day. The Prins Alfred pass between Uniondale and Knysna has been closed as a precautionary measure.

• +- 150 people from the Diepwalle community are currently being evacuated to the Hornlee Hall by SANParks. This is a precautionary measure to safeguard the community until the fire has passed that area.
• MTO Jonkersberg community were evacuated yesterday and will return to their homes today (136 people).
• Goudveld community is still being looked after at the Rheenendal community hall (42 people).
• Buffelsnek community have been moved to Wittedrift (74 people).


1. JONKERSBERG – The wildfire is expected to meet up with the OUTENIQUA wildfire. The distance between the Outeniqua wildfire and the Jonkersberg wildfire is about 4km – with the predicted westerly winds of today, the eastern flank of the Jonkersberg is being driven towards the Outeniqua wildfire.

One house in danger on a koppie in this area. Unfortunately, this home has no defendable space around it and is surrounded by dense vegetation. On the southern side, the fireline is safe.

On the northern side, the wildfire caused the powerline which feeds electricity to Oudtshoorn to trip. Assessments are currently being done by ESKOM on this line.

2. NOLL – On the south and east sides, backburns were created to contain the situation. The wildfire is threatening to jump over the N9 road to the Kammanassie near the Du Toit farm (distressed calls received from farmers shortly after 04:00 am this morning).

3. KRANSBOSCH – The Buffelsnek wildfire is on its way to Kranscbosch. A backburn has been created to stop the wildfire from spreading into other parts of the area. There were six (6) structures lost at Protea village, but the homes were not occupied.
4. BLANCO TO WABOOMSKRAAL (OUTENIQUA FIRE) –There is an active fireline at the back of Highland’s Lodge. The wildfire is extremely hot, high up in the mountain and crews are fighting this fire at the moment.

5. SONSKYNVALLEY/CONCORDIA (KNYSNA) – Working on Fire (WoF) teams are working on a fire-break at the moment.

• BEERVLEI – Situation is being monitored.
• KARATARA – A few hotspots are being attended to.
• KRAAIBOSCH AREA – A few flare-ups and teams will attend to these.
• SEVEN PASSES – We foresee that there will be hotspots later today – aerial resources will focus on this area too as soon as critical areas have been dealt with.
For information about wildfires in the Hessequa, contact the Hessequa Incident Management Team’s Head of Disaster Management, Mr Adneshel Voss on 082 719 6612.
Weather looks fairly uniform over the region – 18-19 degrees Celsius. Wind speed at around 16km/h to a maximum of 20km/h (W/SW) is expected. Rain is also expected for tomorrow.
– 8 Garden Route DM Firefighters
– 4 from Fire Brigade
– 4 from Knysna Fire Department
– 36 from NCC
– 9 from ACSA
– 13 from West Coast District Firefighters
– 110 from PG Bison
– 3 from Incident Working Group
– 4 from SANParks
– 6 Table Mountain National Park
– 1 Spotter aircraft (WoF)
– 2 Fixed Wing Bombers (WoF)
– 1 SANDF Oryx
– 2 Huey Choppers (WoF)
– 1 Oudtshoorn Municipality Tanker
– 2 Skid Units Enviro Wildfire (6 crew)
– 2 Skid Units from Cape Winelands
– 1 Major pumper from Cape Winelands
– Volunteer Group – Approximately 35 members
– 2 WoF Hueys will be here tomorrow
– 4 WoF Hueys, 1 Black Hawk en route as soon as weather permits.
– 2 WoF Spotters
– 1 WoF Bomber
– 172 WoF firefighters busy on the ground
– 59 Firefighters from CapeNature on the ground

Issued by the Garden Route DM JOC.
Emergency Call Centre 044 805 5071

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