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Media Release: Karoo National Park fire extinguished
Date: 11th October 2013
The firefighting troops deployed to the scene of the veld fire inside Karoo National Park since Saturday have been retracted following the successful extinguishing of the blaze yesterday afternoon. The teams left the area early this morning after spending the night on the mountain to ensure that all was safe.
The fire started on a neighbouring farm and a northerly wind blew the fire towards the Park’s north-eastern section called Mountain View - which consists of mountain or escarpment veld – well away from the rest camp. Park Manager, Nico van der Walt, said the wind had been blowing the fire and smoke away from the rest camp, so there was never any danger to guests.
The Park’s Conservation team fought the fire from Saturday until Tuesday. Support from the Working on Fire Department was requested and a team of fire fighters was dispatched on Tuesday. At its peak, a total of 62 people were deployed and consisted of Park Rangers, two Working on Fire teams, Transnet staff and the Beaufort West Fire Department.
Aerial support was also called in from the Southern Cape Fire Protection Agency yesterday morning to assist with control strategies and to attempt to water bomb some of the crucial fires that endangered infrastructure such as the Sentech tower and crucial radio communications stations in the central Karoo which belongs to various government entities including the Park’s own.
A total of about 4 000 hectares has been estimated to be affected, which accounts for only a small percentage of the Park’s nearly 90 000 hectares. Some of the Park’s northern perimetre fence was also damaged in the fire.
Van der Walt says, “No deaths of larger herbivores were reported and it can be assumed that there weren’t any. Our staff will keep a close eye on the area over the weekend to ensure that no fires start up again”.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 041 508 5422
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks
Tel: 041 508 5422 cell: 082 888 0201