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Media Release: Update on Karoo National Park fire
Date: 14th October 2013
The fire which affected the north-eastern section of Karoo National Park last week, and which was extinguished on Thursday afternoon, flared up again on Friday night, fanned by strong winds. Initially confined to the section of the Park called Mountain View since Saturday 5 October - this time the fire spread to the Park’s middle plateau.
Park Rangers and two Working on Fire (WoF) teams returned to fight three separate fires over the course of the weekend and by yesterday they had all been extinguished. The wind had, in the meantime, subsided. The WoF teams will remain on the scene until tomorrow to monitor the situation and ensure that the fire doesn’t flare up again. The total size of the area now affected by the fire is estimated at between 5 000 and 6 000 hectares.
The blaze started on a neighbouring farm and a northerly wind blew the flames towards the Park. There was never any danger to guests as the wind had been blowing the fire and smoke away from the rest camp.
The Park’s Conservation team fought the fire from Saturday until Tuesday last week. Support from the Working on Fire Department was requested and a team of fire fighters was dispatched. 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 provided by the Southern Cape Fire Protection Agency who water bombed 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.
The devastation caused by the fire. Photographed by Christo van Zyl.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 041 508 5422
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks
Tel: 041 508 5422; Cell: 082 888 0201