Stellenbosch Umasipala

The executive mayor of Stellenbosch, Conrad Sidego would like to thank the business community and public of Stellenbosch for the support and donations received for the fire fighting teams involved in containing the Jonkershoek Fire.

A fire which started in the Jonkershoek Valley on Monday 9 March 2015 flared up again late on Tuesday (10 March 2015) afternoon. A South Easterly wind pushed it towards the Stellenbosch area. The fire also moved closer towards the Helderberg Basin which has put some farms potentially under threat.

Justin Lawrence, spokesperson for Cape Nature has indicated that the aim today is to conduct a back burn in the Stellenbosch mountains to reduce the size of the flammable area and bring the blaze under control.

The executive Mayor of Stellenbosch Conrad Sidego wishes to inform the public that due to this controlled fire there is more smoke but it does not mean that the fire has increased in size. ‘We are thinking of the fire-fighters who are battling to get this fire extinguished and under control. On behalf of the community of this valley I would like to express our gratitude for everything that these teams are doing to control this fire and to assure them that their hard work is valued by all.

Over 200 fire-fighters, including aerial support and ground crews from CapeNature, Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM), Working on Fire (WoF) and the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) are actively working to contain the blaze which is burning high in the mountains.

According to the joint operating team there is no immediate threat to life and property in the area".

'I urge all to stay calm and not panic as the firefighting team are doing all they can to contain the situation as soon as possible.’ Sidego says.

Approximately 2900ha of alien vegetation and fynbos has been burnt so far. There is an ecological concern as the last fire that took place in the area was in 2009. Many of the fynbos species in the area need between 12 - 20 years to produce enough seed to sustain the population after the fire.

The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is closed until further notice. The public is also requested to stay clear of the hiking trials and the general Coetzenburg area in Stellenbosch. All visitors and tourists to Stellenbosch and residents must please stay clear of the affected area.

Donations are welcomed especially sunblock products, water, colddrink, energy drinks and hygienic products. Contact Mr Zayne Malan at the Stellenbosch Fire Department on +27 874 8992 if you wish to make a donation for the fire fighting teams.

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