The burning Garden Route gave a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday after overnight rain came to its rescue.
“The rain that fell in the Garden Route area [on Tuesday] night brought much-needed relief and will indeed assist firefighters who are in the fire-line‚” said a statement from SA National Parks.
Eight relatives of retired SANParks staff were killed on Monday as flames consumed indigenous forest at Farleigh in the Wilderness.
“A total of 18 staff houses were destroyed in the fire‚ 13 in the staff settlement called Rooikraal and the remaining five in Beervlei‚” said SANParks.
“A total of 75 people were displaced as a result of these fires and are currently being accommodated in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park.”
SANParks acting CEO Lize McCourt said: “We extend our condolences to the family who have tragically lost loved ones in the fire and we will continue to support them in this trying time.”
McCourt thanked members of the public who had donated non-perishables‚ clothes‚ blankets‚ pillows and shoes to people who had lost their homes in the fires.
About 5‚000ha of fynbos has been destroyed in the Garden Route National Park‚ and SANParks said affected areas included:
• The Outeniqua hiking trail‚ which is closed;
— Rob Beezy (@TrafficSA) October 30, 2018
• The Otter trail‚ which is being assessed daily to decide on the impact of smoke inhalation on hikers;
• Storms River Village‚ where residents were evacuated;
• Storms River Rest Camp‚ where visitors were prevented from entering or leaving as all access roads were affected by the fires; and
• Areas close to Goudveld‚ such as the Bibby’s Hoek community‚ which were evacuated.