Firefighters battling to control Garden Route fires

Hundreds of firefighters and a handful of helicopters were fighting to save life and property on Tuesday evening as wildfires continued to rage over a 60km stretch of the Garden Route.

Already nine people have been confirmed dead in the fires.

In George‚ firefighters were wrestling at least two fires on opposite sides of the city. People were evacuated from the timber farming areas between George and Knysna.

Knysna mayor Mark Willemse said on Tuesday that nine people had died in the fire‚ including two adults‚ one who was pregnant‚ six children‚ and an infant.

People were housed in community halls across the Knysna and George areas‚ where emergency services and NGOs‚ including the Red Cross‚ provided disaster relief.

Near the woodcutter settlement of Rheenendal residents stood and watched as two fires converged‚ causing a massive column of smoke. Flames were spreading rapidly eastwards and towards the dense indigenous forest of the Garden Route National Park.

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