The following update on the Kouga fires as of yesterday (13th June) afternoon
Fires contained but not under control
The Longmore fire is still not under control but is being contained. Firebreaks have also been created at Crossways to help contain the fire.
No structures are currently under threat and a fire that threatened a chicken farm was extinguished during the course of the 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.
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.
Press release from Laura-Leigh Randall
Kouga Municipality Media Liaison Oficer
084 2055 388