The Overstrand Municipality is currently under threat from numerous wildfires spreading across the region. Mandatory evacuation messages have been ordered by the Fire and Disaster Management for a number of areas.
In the Franskraal area, the fire is currently out of control and fire management has ordered an evacuation of all residents.
There are currently two helicopters collecting ocean water and using it to bomb the fires in gale force winds.
There are 94km\h wind gusts and wind speeds of 60km\h in Franskraal.
The entrance to Franskraal on the R43 has been closed, which means there is currently no access between Gaansbaai and Franskraal.
Hemel en aarde/Hermanus town:
In the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, well-known wedding venue Bone Dea and Camphill farm community and school, have been evacuated. The R320, the road that leads through the valley, has been closed.
The residents of Hemel en Aarde Estate have been asked to remain on stand by until further notice. Farms in the Hemel en Aarde valley have already been ordered to evacuate.
The Hemel en Aarde road, the R320, is currently closed.
In Hermanus town, the fire is now coming down the mountain towards the back of cemetery, the High School, Hermanus Heights, Fernkloof and Eastcliff. Some residents have already been asked to evacuate.
The Hermanus area is currently experiencing 63km/h wind speeds with gusts reaching up to 100-115km\h.
The fire in the Hermanus area has now moved behind the soccer astro turf at Generations schools Hermanus. The fire has spread over into the Fernkloof nature reserve, with evacuation orders in place.
The two roads behind Hermanus High school, Mountain Drive and Manolia Road have both been closed as a result of the fire.
The Village NEWS is getting reports that the fire has flared up again in Betty’s Bay. Eye witness accounts have said that the fire has spread from Harold Porter National Botanical Garden towards Sunny Seas.
The R44 between Kleinmond and Gordon’s bay has been closed. The R326 is currently free flowing from both directions however the Hermanus CPF urges everyone to remain at home unless instructed to evacuate.
The wind speed in Betty’s Bay is currently at 63km/h and wind gusts are at 110km/h.
EWN spoke with Overberg fire chief Reinhardt Geldenhuys who says Betty’s Bay is under threat.
“The big fires in Betty’s Bay, those lines came down the mountain. So far we have several structures lost. We don’t even what to take account of it, but we know there are structures burning. Right now the wind is very strong [and] gusting 70 and 80 kilometres an hour. So, all we are doing is getting people safe and away from the fire. We’re trying to save whatever we can.”
The following halls are available for use by those who have been evacuated: Grobbersaal, Gansbaai Tourism Hall, Sandbaai Hall and Crassula Hall, Betty’s Bay.
Ward 13 councillor Jean Orban has asked if anyone would like to make a donation of any kind, please do so at the Fire department and not the halls being used for the evacuated.
This is a developing story which will be updated as more information becomes available.