The devastating fire at Duineveld near Pearly Beach and Uilenkraalsmond over the weekend destroyed more than 8 000 ha of veld and by Sunday night the fire was still raging out of control in some places.
According to Overstrand Fire Chief Lester Smith fire crews from the Overstrand, Overberg, Cape Town, Cape Winelands and the West Coast municipalities fought the fire over the weekend. Two helicopters and a fixed wing spotter plane also joined the fight.
“We are fortunate that there has been minimal damage to structures and for the immediate future we do not foresee that any houses would be in danger,” said Smith. According to the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association (FPA) crews were still deployed on the fire line by late afternoon on Sunday while burnout operations were continuing around Pearly Beach to ensure the safety of the town.
“There was a lot of smoke coming from the area throughout the weekend due to a number of spots burning inside of the burnt area, but there was only minimal damage to infrastructure. It is also not often that we use heavy machinery like excavators in the Fynbos Biome, but as the majority of the vegetation where the dozer worked was invasive acacia species, we removed as much vegetation as possible to ensure the safety of the houses,” the FPA said in a statement.
According to Enviro Wildfire Services their forensic team investigated the Pearly Beach fire. “Within 45 minutes of being on site we were able to determine where and how the fire started, as well as identify the person responsible. Details can unfortunately not be released to the public at this stage of the investigation. The report will be handed to the authorities soon.”
To further complicate matters, two additional fires started in the Stanford area at the time of The Village NEWS going to print on Sunday afternoon.