Southern Cape mountains closed due to raging wildfire
A raging wildfire has forced authorities to temporarily close mountains in the Southern Cape for all outdoor activities due to safety concerns.
Wilderness Search and Rescue said in a safety alert that the area most affected was the Outeniqua mountains above the town of George.
Working On Fire (WOF) and other agencies are trying to contain the wildfire burning in the mountains between George and Wilderness.
The closure will affect hiking‚ trail running‚ mountain biking‚ driving and possibly the use of guest accommodation in the area‚ the alert said on Monday.
“It is very unsafe for members of the public to be in the area. The obvious fire and smoke hazard can be life-threatening to any recreational outdoor user‚” said the safety alert.
“The area must be clear of all civilians to allow the firefighters to concentrate on their job‚ which also includes starting secondary fires for the purpose of back-burning. Being caught between two or more fire fronts will be a serious concern for the Wildfire Incident Commanders.
“The roads have to be free for the emergency vehicles to use. It may happen that burning or burnt trees will be falling across roads. Firefighting aircraft are operating in the area as well.”
Currently the @environmentza WOF has 210 firefighters & supporting vehicles, a spotter plane, two Huey Helicipoters and 2 fixed wing 802 air tractor bombers, working tirelessly to contain the George Fire which has been burning for the past 5 days. pic.twitter.com/T92KIkrcXT— Working on Fire (@wo_fire) October 29, 2018
The vast plumes of smoke from the fire were visible in satellite images.