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At least 31 Houses Destroyed, 28 Damaged In Overstrand Wildfires


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On the coastal Overstrand region in the Western Cape, at least 31 houses have been completely destroyed and 28 partially damaged by wildfires.

More than 12 800 hectares of vegetation is also estimated to have been destroyed as a result of the blaze, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue service spokesperson Theo Layne said on Saturday morning.

Layne said a full impact study would be carried out to determine how much of the rare and endangered species of flora had been affected.

Chief fire officer in the Overstrand municipality Lester Smith told the SABC on Saturday morning that firefighting personnel were still on scene in Franskraal, Betty’s Bay and Karwyderskraal.

This is despite heavy rains overnight.

“Currently all three fires are not under control yet. I had a discussion with all three different incident commanders and the feedback from Franskraal was that the fire is still active on the northern side of Franskraal,” Smith said.

Smith said there was about an 8km line which still had active fires.

There were, however, no threats to any property and people had returned to their property.

Smith said firefighting personnel would continue monitoring the areas.

“In the Betty’s Bay area, currently there is still fire hotspots. We can confirm that 31 houses were totally destroyed by the fire, 27 houses partially damaged,” Smith told the SABC.

One adult male from Betty’s Bay was admitted to hospital as a result of the fire.

Smith said firefighting vehicles were on the lines affected by the fires and would be stationed there throughout the day.

He added that firefighters from all over the province were also in the areas to assist the blazes.

“We have a lot of resources. Currently a 226 fire cruise on scene as well as 52 vehicles,” he said.

According to the Joint Operations Centre for the wildfires, there had been 94km/h wind gusts and wind speeds of 60km/h across the Overstrand on Friday evening.

The Overstrand municipality, through an update via Facebook alerted that most areas were still without power as Eskom technicians were unsuccessful in their attempts to restore power on Friday night.

The municipality said technicians were on scene working on restoring electricity in affected areas.

It added that there was no estimated time for full restoration and that damage assessment was ongoing.

In another update the municipality said all roads were now open but appealed to the public to not do sightseeing during the day as mop-up operations continued.

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