NEWS

Western Cape Fires Under Control

Firefighters are monitoring the Somerset West area.

11/01/2017 14:58 SAST | Updated 11/01/2017 15:21 SAST

Fires in Somerset West and Paarl were contained on Wednesday morning, with authorities monitoring the areas for any possible flare-ups.

According to incident command post spokesperson Justin Lawrence, fires on the Du Toitskloof Mountains were under control.

"All fires on the mountain have been contained. Fires are still burning on the mountain, but there is no immediate danger to property," Lawrence told News24 on Wednesday morning.

"Firefighters are on scene to treat any flare-ups, while they are mopping up the area," Lawrence added.

Rain was forecast for Paarl on Tuesday, but incident fire head Derrick Peceur said the rain was not enough to extinguish the flames.

"We really hoped for the best, but there was barely any rain. Five drops probably fell for about a half minute," Peceur said.

Meanwhile City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue spokesperson Liezl Moodie said firefighters were monitoring the Somerset West fires.

"We are basically just monitoring the area. There are fires, but the fires are set to be extinguished soon," Moodie said.

Moodie said weather conditions were conducive for extinguishing the flames.

"Firefighters will be there for 24-48 hours to ensure that no flare-ups occur. Weather conditions are preferable, which means we can use helicopter to fight the fires."

Winds on Monday hindered firefighters' ability to use helicopters to battle the blaze.

Two helicopters were on the scene on Wednesday morning.

The recent fires in Somerset West burnt down the luxury Bezweni Lodge and caused at least R60 million worth of damage. Fires in Paarl on Monday burnt down several historical buildings, including the childhood home of Afrikaans poet Totuis.

Authorities told media on Monday that investigations were currently underway to establish the cause of the blaze. City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said that all the fires were started by people, but investigations would reveal if the intent was malicious. -- News24