The South African Weather Services advised of severe weather conditions in form of a cold front with abnormal windy conditions early Tuesday, 06 June 2017. This cold front was scheduled to hit Cape Town during the night of 06 June and travel South Easterly to hit the Eden District area by mid-day on Wednesday 07 June 2017. Heavy rainfall was expected.
As Wednesday 07 June took position, the effects of the forecasted cold front se...t in along the Western Province with high winds and rain.
Unfortunately, its onset to the Eden region was excessive wind speeds, but no rain…
Winds were persistent from early morning and Bitou Fire Station were alerted to a fire in the Knysna area near Kruisfontein and heading towards Plettenberg Bay, shortly before 06h00am.
During Bitou Fire Services’ initial response to the fire call, assistance and support was already rendered to Knysna near Kruisfontein. In this time as the fire rapidly spread to Harkerville in Plett, two members of Plett South Fire Management Unit responded to a report of a hotspot. The Bitou Fire Department response team deployed to the Harkerville area then established that these two volunteer firefighters got injured between 11h00 and 11h30.Both sustained serious burn injuries when trying to defend a fire line between Harkerville and Kranshoek, sadly one had subsequently succumbed to his injuries. The other is still receiving medical treatment as and when required toward his recovery.
By 12h00 on Wednesday, June 07th, the veld fire was already within the Bitou Municipal boundaries and approaching from Harkerville Forest area, West of Kranshoek. This area is well-known for its lush flora and the dry and extremely high wind conditions on the day, were most favorable for the spread and development of runaway veld fires.
For, ten (10) consecutive days hereafter firefighters and volunteers battled these veld fires with its very sporadic flare-ups which have caused great devastation along the very pristine Bitou coastline.
This fire disaster left hundreds of Bitou residents displaced and in dire need of aid.
No words would be able to unambiguously convey what happened within the Greater Bitou Communities, as hearts and doors were opened, time and all other efforts and resources were devoted to relief the impact that this disaster had on fellow community members.
Thank you Bitou…
All Non-Governmental Organisations, parastatals of government, volunteers and citizens of this country, thank you for your generous donations and thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers...
Last published 11 June 2018