The Garden Route District Municipality has confirmed seven fatalities in Karatara, in the Knysna Municipality, in South Africa on Monday evening. The Municipality updated the figure from four to seven just after 20h00 on Monday evening. (The death toll was later reported at eight.) They were all killed in the same house that caught fire.
Earlier the DM said: “It is with great shock and deep sadness that we have been informed of four (4) fatalities in the Bosdorp (Karatara, Knysna municipal area) community due to the wildfire.
“EMS reported that one (1) adult, two (2) toddlers and one (1) baby died around 18:00 today.
“Garden Route District Municipality’s heartfelt condolences and sympathy go out to those who lost their loved ones.”
Just after 20h00 the Municipality said:
Karatara fatalities increase to seven people (including a pregnant mother)
During a fire coordination JOC meeting at 19:00 on 29 October 2018, role players were informed by SAPS of more shocking news – the total fatalities in the Karatara area has increased to seven (7) people. An additional loss of one (1) adult and three (3) have been confirmed. Please keep the affected families and community members in your prayers.
The news came just after a video of rain in George started going viral, and appearing to herald an end to the fires that have blazed across the Garden Route in the last week. However photographer Andre Roux confirmed to SAPeople on Monday at 20h00 that the fires are unfortunately still “raging”.
Working on Fire, who have been working tirelessly to fight the fires, said this evening: “Our heartfelt condolences goes out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the Bosdorp (Karatara) Fire this evening.”
After hearing of the update to seven, WoF said: “May their Souls Rest In Peace! Sad to hear that more deaths reported earlier. We wish all firefighters all the best on the fire lines tonight.”
There are currently fires in Riversdale, Outeniqua and Karatara. The first was caused by lightning. The cause of the others is unknown at this point. There have been at least three structures burnt down.
According to some residents there were no firefighters at the scene of the tragedy, which many others said is because they are so stretched right now. Firefighting efforts have also been hindered by extremely strong winds.
UPDATE: The death toll has increased in reports to eight people – two women and six children were in a house that was burnt to the ground.
This morning the George Municipality had urged residents in the high-danger zones to voluntarily evacuate as a precaution.
Local George resident Paddy Haldane told SAPeople on Monday afternoon, before the tragedy: “It has been a nightmare day… but thankfully the wind has died down so here’s hoping we’re over the worst.”
She said it had been “wonderful to see a community come together to help each other regardless of race or religion!😊”
Fire in Karatara, Monday
Outeniqua Pass remains closed until further notice.
STATUS OF FIRE
Residents living on the borders of the town and forest are requested to voluntarily evacuate their homes due to danger of smoke inhalation. The fire remains active on the slopes. pic.twitter.com/YDReISbreH
— Working on Fire (@wo_fire) October 29, 2018
Four people confirmed dead in Karatara It is with great shock and deep sadness that we have been informed of four (4) fatalities in the Bosdorp (Karatara, Knysna municipal area) community due to the wildfire. EMS reported that one (1) adult, two (2) toddlers and one (1) baby died around 18:00 today. Garden Route District Municipality's heartfelt condolences and sympathy go out to those who lost their loved ones.📹 Aerial support bombing fires near Garden Route dam in George #KnysnaFires#GeorgeFires #GardenRouteFires
Posted by Sphiwe Hobasi on Monday, October 29, 2018
Some Rain in George on Monday evening:
REËN IN GEORGE!
Posted by Chris De Beer on Monday, October 29, 2018
The visibility due to the fires on Monday afternoon:
Visibility in and around George and Oudtshoorn is very bad. Please drive carefully and turn your headlights on
Late this afternoon the George Municipality started evacuating residents in Blanco Golden Valley and Step Aside as a precautionary measure.