Posts Tagged ‘Thornhill fire’

Fires contained but not under control

June 14, 2017

The Longmore fire is still not under control but is being contained. Firebreaks have also been created at Crossways to help contain the fire.

Photo: Dirk Erasmus

No structures are currently under threat. A fire that threatened a chicken farm was extinguished during the course of Monday night.

Some 120 fire-fighters are on the ground to deal with flare-ups and to do mop-up work. This includes 50 fire-fighters who arrived from across the Sarah Baartman district today.

Hot spots in the Kouga region are in the vicinity of the J-Bay Zebra Lodge near Thornhill, as well as the section between the R102 and N2.

Wind gusts are predicted for later this week, which could impact on mop-up operations.

A request has been submitted by the Joint Operations Centre to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) for air support in the form of helicopters to “water bomb” flare-ups in the region.

In addition to Kouga, the JOC included Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and SAPS. It was chaired by Major-General Johan Fourie.

Roads

Sanral has put up temporary road signs on the N2 asking motorists to reduce speed.

A large number of animals have been wandering into the road because of the fire. Visibility also remains problematic at places because of the smoke. There are also fire crews along the roads.

Water and electricity interruptions

The Longmore/Loerie area is currently without electricity or water after 1km of the 11kv electrical line that supplies power to the area burnt out. The line also supplies power to the Loerie Dam and related water infrastructure, hence, the interruption in the water supply as well.

According to feedback given at the JOC, the electricity is expected to be restored by this afternoon (Wednesday).

Damage and donations needed

The full extent of the damage is still to be determined but it is estimated that about 12 houses burnt down on farms and small-holdings in the Longmore/Thornhill area. About 60% (about 12 500ha) of the Longmore Plantation has burnt down.

There are people who have literally been left with nothing. The Department of Social Development is assessing how many households have been left destitute and what their needs are.

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State of Disaster declared in Kouga

June 13, 2017

Prompted by the widespread destruction caused by fires that have been burning in the region since Wednesday (7 June), the Kouga Council declared a Local State of Disaster yesterday afternoon.

The fore in Longmore. Photo: Dirk Erasmus

The declaration, made at a special meeting at Jeffreys Bay, will now be promulgated in the Provincial Gazette.

This will allow the municipality to apply for additional funding from provincial and national government so as to address the impact of the fires on the local infrastructure and communities.

FIRE HOTSPOTS
Two hot spots are still burning in the Kouga region. These are in the vicinity of Loerie and Crossways.

There is no immediate danger to property. “We are grateful to the local farming community who has also been helping with mop-up operations in these areas,” said Mayor Elza Van Lingen.

LONGMORE PLANTATION

About 50% (roughly 10 500ha) of the Longmore Plantation has burnt down. A total of 110 fire-fighters are still fighting fires in the plantation.

ROAD SAFETY AND ANIMALS

Motorists are cautioned to reduce their speeds when travelling along the N2 and R102 in the vicinity of Van Stadens and Thornhill.

Visibility has been poor, especially along the R102 in the vicinity of Thornhill.

Many animals, both livestock and wildlife, have also been wandering onto the roads because fencing either burnt out or had to be cut so that the animals could escape from the fire.

Sanrail has been asked to put up temporary road signs to warn motorists.

ELECTRICITY: THORNHILL AND LONGMORE

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro was able to restore the electricity supply to Thornhill yesterday and has undertaken to have the power restored to Longmore by Wednesday.

The Metro supplies electricity to Thornhill and Longmore even though these areas are located within Kouga Municipality’s boundaries.

TRAUMA COUNSELLING

Trauma counselling is being offered to residents affected by the fire through the Department of Social Development and Jeffreys Bay Trauma centre.

DONATIONS

“We are very grateful to everyone for the donations and support that have been streaming in since the crisis started on Wednesday.

We have sufficient supplies for affected communities at present.

We also have enough prepacked meals for fire-fighters at present, but will send out an alert should there be any further requirements,” added Mayor Van Lingen.

Local state of disaster to be declared

June 12, 2017

Statement by Kouga Executive Mayor Elza van Lingen:

The Kouga Council will be holding a special meeting at the Council Chambers in Jeffreys Bay at 2pm today

The purpose of the meeting will be for Council to declare a local state of disaster in the wake of the destruction caused by fire to large parts of the Kouga region, its communities and infrastructure over the past five days.

Van Stadens bridge. Photo: Dirk Erasmus

The declaration will follow less than two weeks after the Kouga Council also declared a local state of disaster (on 31 May) because of the prolonged drought that has been crippling the area.

Council’s plea to residents is that just as we stood together in the heat of the fire, we now have to stand together in rebuilding, in the same spirit, our families, our infrastructure and our Kouga.

The Kouga Council wishes to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance with rescue and relief efforts in our region over the past few days:

* Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for trying to get Thornhill’s electricity on this afternoon (Sunday) soonest.
* MTN for jacking up the signal booster to improve communication in the Thornhill area.
* Sarah Baartman District Municipality’s leadership and Disaster Management teams
* Farming community and staff, who offered amazing support in spite of their own properties also being under threat.
* SAPS for continued support
* Longmore MTO, Working on Fire and fire-fighters from nearby districts.
* All donors and volunteers from all over Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay. All donations are managed strictly under supervision and control.
* Kouga Municipality’s Social Services Director Japie Jansen, Kouga Fire Chief Dewald Barnard and fire-fighting teams, all Kouga staff, councillors and anyone else who dedicated time and effort for the people of Kouga.

We say thank you!

We further wish to express sincere condolences to the family of the couple who Van der Riet family This was a severe tragedy of our disaster.

We are also sad to have heard about farm houses that were partly damaged or burnt down, loss of staff houses, livestock, implements and outbuildings.