Cape wildfires: 86,000 hectares scorched

CAPE TOWN - It's been 13 days of raging wildfires from George to Knysna and now threatening Plettenberg Bay.

In the George area, the fire claimed the lives of eight people, all of them members of the same family.

So far, 86,000 hectares of vegetation has been destroyed, with that number set to increase.

The fires are mainly under control, but five out of the initial 12 are still burning.

The area of De Vlugt just outside Plettenberg Bay remains a major concern for authorities.

Several hundred firefighters have been working around the clock to try and contain the fires.

A total of 323 ground firefighters and 14 choppers and water bombers are currently battling the flames.

Western Cape premier Helen Zille has paid a visit to the Garden Route to assess the damage caused.

"There's only one that we are seriously worried about and that is moving eastwards towards the Plettenberg Bay area," said De Lille.

"We are trying to contain that fire and evacuate the people in its path. But overall we believe that we have broken the back of the 12 fires that were raging in this area."

Authorities hope the cooler weather and expected rainfall will help contain -- and ultimately extinguish -- the fires.


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