Tribute to 485 firefighters after Knysna inferno

Firefighters battle to save a house in Buffalo Bay near Knysna as the fires along the Garden Route flared up again, fanned by gale-force winds.
Firefighters battle to save a house in Buffalo Bay near Knysna as the fires along the Garden Route flared up again, fanned by gale-force winds. Image: ESA ALEXANDER
Bringing the Knysna fire under control has been a truly South African effort thanks to more than 400 Working on Fire firefighters from around the country.
On Thursday‚ as smoke still billowed from among the trees in the commercial forest surrounding the town‚ a helicopter carrying water occasionally flying over Knysna‚ Western Cape premier Helen Zille along with other government officials‚ including Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen and Environmental Minister Edna Molewa‚ paid tribute to the 485 firefighters.

“This is the biggest fire disaster in living memory and one of the most devastating. If it wasn’t for you‚ the extent of this disaster would have been unimaginable‚” Zille told the firefighters.

“These kinds of natural disasters are going to occur more often because of climate change and because of other things. And so you are the backbone of keeping people safe and keeping property safe.”

This story was first published by The Herald by BY KAREN VAN ROOYEN AND MICHAEL KIMBERLEY

 

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