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More firefighters called for Cape blazes

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An extra 250 firefighters were called in to tackle blazes across the Western Cape on Monday, the provincial environmental affairs department said.

MEC Anton Bredell decided to bring in reinforcements and further aerial support because fire crews were exhausted.

“The idea is to stabilise the situation across the province,” he said in a statement.

Several large fires across the province had continued at the weekend and into Monday morning.

According to Bredell, fires on the mountains around Muizenberg had still not been brought under control.

Aerial bombardment was difficult due to prevailing weather conditions.

“The situation is serious and efforts are being hampered by extreme temperatures, strong winds, and inhospitable terrain,” said provincial disaster management head Colin Deiner.

Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak Drive, and Boyes drive had been closed to traffic until further notice.

Cape Town disaster risk management spokeswoman Charlotte Powell said two bungalows were destroyed in an explosion caused by the fire at Tintswalo lodge at the foot of Chapman’s Peak.

“A [firefighting] official sustained burn wounds and was treated on the scene before he was transported to hospital.”

She said the fire was spreading and heading towards Hout Bay.

Earlier, Powell said 52 people were treated for smoke inhalation and five houses were destroyed by the fire.

By noon, five homes were destroyed along Silvermine Road in Noordhoek.

At least 10 private homes, an old-age home and a retirement village had been evacuated in Noordhoek.

“The fire started on Sunday but was contained and then the bigger fire started up at around 2.20am,” said Powell.

Authorities were monitoring a fire impacted by strong winds in the Tulbagh valley. A large fire was still burning in the Winterhoek mountains.

Both fires had destroyed more than 9000 hectares of vegetation.

Fire crews contained a fire in Betty’s Bay. Occasional flare ups were being monitored. SAPA

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