Gallery Update Video
GEORGE NEWS & VIDEO - The fires in Herold and the Outeniqua mountains on the outskirts of George have people talking and worrying about the town's safety.
The Montagu Pass was closed early afternoon due to thick smoke in the area, but the Outeniqua Pass remains open.
Drivers are cautioned to drive safely.
According to rescue services there is no reason for panic at this stage.
The fire started late on Wednesday afternoon in Herold, on the northern side of the Outeniqua mountains. Fire services of George and Garden Route District Municipality were hastily withdrawn from Vermaaklikheid in the Hessequa district where they have been helping to contain fire since Tuesday.
This morning residents across George were alarmed when they noticed ash on their properties. Thick smoke clouds have been visible since early morning.
A panicked resident phoned the George Herald to establish if it was necessary to evacuate. The resident wanted to know how a possible evacuation will be communicated.
Municipal spokesperson Chantel Edwards-Klose emphasised there is no reason for panic and in a situation of evacuation residents will be informed well in time.
Reporters of the George Herald visited the Herold area where the fire started.
Thick smoke clouds were visible from the entry point to the Montagu Pass. In a time span of an hour the fire intensified noticeably. There was a lot of activity.
A temporary forward control centre has been established in the Herold post office and it is a hub of activity. Representatives of CapeNature, Working on Fire and the Western Cape Emergency Services gathered at the post office and are being deployed in the area.
Watch a video below.
Brenden Mazwati, a farmworker in the area of Herold, said they have been watching the fire closely throughout the night. "We never went to sleep," he said. Maureen Fourie, co-owner of Herold Wines, said the fire started to move to a portion of their farm earlier this morning. "At this stage we are keeping a keen eye, but it's our neighbours who are most worried," she said.
Meanwhile, the Garden Route SPCA warned residents in the Denneoord and Glen Barrie areas on the slopes of the mountain to be on the lookout for wildlife fleeing from the fires.
Senior SPCA inspector Salome Bruyns says they must be on the lookout for the animals but also be very cautious.
"Particularly baboons and bushbuck will flee from the fires and may even end up in town. If anyone sees a wild animal, please call the SPCA or the Outeniqua Nature Reserve as recommended by Nature Conservation."
The SPCA's number is 044 878 1990 and after hours 082 378 7384.
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