Day of panic and devastation for Rooi-els

19 March 2017 – Day of panic and devastation for Rooi-els


KBRC director Veronica Jacobs experienced that Sunday’s fierce fire first-hand, as she and her husband, Leon, are residents in the village. They live on Roella Street, which is the highest one on the slope.

She recalls that they had kept an eye on the smoke during the morning and that by lunchtime, from where they were, it had appeared to be under control. She had remained restless, however, and at one stage, when she looked through the dining-room window, she saw to her horror that the gale force south easterly wind had pushed the raging flames over the mountain and the fire was heading straight for the village. In its wake, it had already destroyed a house and another was to follow.

Evacuation ordered

In the meantime the local fire fighters had been joined by helicopters and the teams of neighbouring municipalities, as well as that of CapeNature; and many of the residents had been told to evacuate. Some headed out of the area, but others parked on Clarence Drive at a safe distance, to keep an eye on the village and their properties.

It took fire fighters more than 24 hours to gain control over the fire and in the process a great deal of fynbos was destroyed, as well as damage caused to many houses and other structures. Fortunately, no further houses had been destroyed.

The satellite fire station in Pringle Bay, which was completed and inaugurated last year, once again served as a useful and convenient base – Joint Operational Centre (JOC) – from where the combating of the fire was orchestrated and co-ordinated.

The generosity and involvement of community members from neighbouring villages, who as always offered their assistance and brought food and water, was once again much appreciated.

20 March – the aftermath

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  Vol 4, Issue 2 – June 2017
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