Knysna fire was sparked by lightning strike - investigator

22 August 2017 - 11:39 By Naledi Shange
Raging fires at the Longmore Forest on June 07, 2017 in Knysna, South Africa. More than 10,000 people were forced to flee their homes as fires fuelled by storm winds ripped through the Western Cape coastal town. File photo
Raging fires at the Longmore Forest on June 07, 2017 in Knysna, South Africa. More than 10,000 people were forced to flee their homes as fires fuelled by storm winds ripped through the Western Cape coastal town. File photo
Image: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Werner Hills

The fires that wrecked part of Knysna in the Western Cape in June probably originated from a lightning strike‚ which occurred in the Elandskraal area on April 12‚ forensic investigator David Klatzow said on Tuesday.

“It is likely that [the lightning bolt] ignited something which was oxygen-limiting. [The fire] smoldered away until it got oxygen and the wind suddenly crept up on the morning of 7 June‚” said Klatzow.

“In the same way that if you would want to resurrect a fire that you started the night before‚ you would blow on it‚ is the same way it happened here‚” he said.

The area where the fire started was dense bush where there was no evidence of human habitation.

“It is unlikely that anybody would be there at the middle of the night‚” he said.

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