#FranschhoekFire: Multiple properties still in danger as flames jump breaks overnight

90 Working on Fire firefighters were deployed to fight the blaze. Image: Twitter/@wo_fire

90 Working on Fire firefighters were deployed to fight the blaze. Image: Twitter/@wo_fire

The fire started on Monday afternoon, and is inaccessible in some places, making it difficult to combat the blaze.

Firefighters have once again been battling blazes in the Western Cape, this time in the Bohoek area of Franschhoek.

The fire started in the Mooiwater area on Monday afternoon, and was on Tuesday reported to be about 9.5km in extent.

At least 175 firefighters were deployed to extinguish the fire, which on Tuesday was reported as not being a threat to property.

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However, the fire was inaccessible in some places, burning in steep conditions along rock faces, but firefighters from Working on Fire (WoF) reported that they were making good progress.

In an update on Thursday morning, the Cape Winelands District Municipality’s fire services said that late on Wednesday afternoon helicopters and ground crews had made good progress, but “unfortunately the wind increased and changed direction at 4pom”.

“This caused the fire line above the Bohoek area to flare up and run down the mountain toward the farms. At 4am the fire line was close to the farmlands.

“Despite the best efforts of fire crews, the fire jumped the fire break in places and multiple properties are still in danger.”

No damage to properties or injuries had been reported.

“Today 165 firefighters together with aerial resources will focus on the fire line in the Bohoek.  Further crews will be trooped high into the mountains on the Mont Rochelle side to tackle the fire in difficult terrain.”

In a statement on Thursday, the DA’s Western Cape premier candidate, Alan Winde, said he had seen the devastation caused by the fires in the Franschhoek area first-hand on Wednesday.

“I will now be asking the provincial police commissioner to investigate this fire, to rule out arson.

“My visit to the fire-ravaged region of Franschhoek follows several recent severe fires in our province, namely Betty’s Bay and Wuppertal.

“Fires cause devastation and loss of life and property. They devastate communities and economies. We must therefore be sure that these fires are not a result of deliberate criminal actions, and this is the reason why I will be asking provincial police commissioner, General Jula, to investigate.”

WoF said on Wednesday night that the fire had calmed, and that firefighters were able to gain some ground in extinguishing the blaze. However, WoF said the fire was not yet under control.

According to a message sent to residents from Overstrand law enforcement, residents had not yet been evacuated, but were strongly advised to keep all doors and windows closed, remove all outside furniture or any flammable items close to their homes, park vehicles in a safe location, and that the elderly and small children try to stay out of the area, if at all possible.

This is a developing story. Updates will follow as more information is made available.

(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)

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