Skies over Cape Town ‘clouded with smoke’ as Jonkershoek fire intensifies

A fire that has engulfed parts of Stellenbosch is now sending smoke towards the Cape Town Municipality, covering the skies in a dense blanket of fumes and pollutants. In some parts of the south-west, the sun has been blocked out by these travelling plumes, after the blaze near Jonkershoek was aided by high winds on Friday.

Jonkershoek fire: Latest news, updates on Friday 26 February

The Western Cape Government is currently responding to the incident, and they’ve deployed all available support teams to the affected area. Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning – Anton Bredell – has also warned that the weekend weather forecast is highly unfavourable for firefighters trying to quell the inferno:

“Aerial resources can only be deployed when conditions are favourable. The terrain is very mountainous and the strong wind isn’t helping. The forecast for the weekend is for the hot and windy conditions to prevail. Please avoid the area and trails leading to the area as the variable winds can change direction at short notice which may pose a serious threat.”

What is causing the smoke over Cape Town skies?

Meanwhile, social media has been abuzz with photos of the gloomy skies above Cape Town. Working on Fire has since shared an update online, confirming that their choppers are now working to try and contain the flames in Jonkershoek.

Residents of Stellenbosch, Jonkershoek on high alert

The Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) has also provided an update late on Friday afternoon, bemoaning the high winds that are thwarting emergency teams. An official statement has asked all residents to comply with safety advice:

“The CWDM’s Fire Services have been battling the fire that started in Franschhoek on Monday. Due to a combination of increased wind speed and the dense vegetation, the fire crested the upper reaches of the mountains and swept down into the Jonkershoek (Stellenbosch) valley. This area is at higher risk as there are more farms and properties in the area.

“Please co-operate with visiting Stellenbosch Enforcement Officials, they are there to inform you and help keep your property safe. Firefighting resources are placed in the area to ensure structural protection. Currently, there are numerous resources on the fire line, to ensure that the fire does not spread toward houses. Please note any official instructions.”

Cape Town fire crews rush to tame wildfire

Residents of Stellenbosch, Jonkershoek, and nearby regions of Cape Town have been instructed to do the following:

  • – Keep all doors and windows closed
  • – Remove all outside furniture and other flammable items that are close to your house.
  • – Park vehicles at a safe location or in garage
  • – Keep pets inside
  • – Ensure the elderly, young children, or people with co-morbidities such as Asthma, are able stay with friends or family in other areas.

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Presh JM Reporter

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