Municipal manager of Mossel Bay, Advocate Thys Giliomee, tried his best to spread hope that the devastating Hartenbos fire will subside soon, he told Mossel Bay Advertiser.
Giliomee confirmed that two houses suffered significant damage as a result of the fire, which has been raging since Monday morning.
He thanked all emergency services on the scene, and emphasised that there is no need for evacuations yet, but many people have removed their possessions and animals from the area for now.
The fire was started near the R328 towards Oudtshoorn, which has been temporarily closed to traffic.
Firefighters are working tirelessly to extinguish the blaze.
A large vegetation fire is raging in Hartenbos Heuwels, and the Mossel Bay Advertiser has been advised that property may be in danger.
As a result, some residents of Hartenbos Heuwels have been given the order to evacuate. Information also suggests that the Hartenbos Animal Hospital has also been forced to evacuate.
Fire-fighting crews of the Mossel Bay Municipality Fire and Disaster Management Services are on the scene.
According to Chief Joe Johnston, aerial resources have been deployed. A Working on Fire spotter, fixed-wing bomber, and helicopter have been dispatched.
In addition, the services of Kobus Crous from Mossel Bay Helicopters have been dispatched to provide additional support.
The fire is coming dangerously close to houses, but emergency services are on the scene to support residents.
A strong wind is fueling the fire, making extinguishing efforts difficult.
An urgent call for people who are not in the area to stay clear of Hartenbos has been sent out, in order for emergency services to carry out their duties unhindered.
Updates to follow as more information is made available.
Keep your pets safe
Head of the Garden Route SPCA Frieda Jansen van Rensburg has urged fire-affected pet owners in Hartenbos Heuwels en Menkenkop to hand their pets over to the SPCA for safekeeping. They are in the processing of rescuing animals already, and are currently collecting pets.
“Our bakkies are on their way to rescue the animals,” Van Rensburg said.
She said pet owners should call the two SPCA emergency numbers – 072 287 1761 and 082 378 7384. SPCA staff are on the alert. Also call the SPCA landline in Mossel Bay (044 693 0824) or George (044 878 1990).
Parts of this article have been translated from Afrikaans by Nica Schreuder.