Winelands fires: Jonkershoek Nature Reserve closed due to heavy smoke

2017-01-10 09:24 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve outside Stellenbosch is currently closed for visitors due to a fire blazing in the nearby mountains. 

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve reception on Tuesday morning, 10 January, confirmed that the reserve was closed for hiking due to the heavy smoke in the reserve. 

Although the fire had not yet breached the boundaries of the reserve at the time of publishing, firefighters were battling dire dry and windy conditions in the nearby mountains. 

The fires come following a fire in the area at the tail end of 2016.

Then, during the first week of the New Year, again, the Winelands was plagued with massive wildfires that caused in excess of R54 million damage. 

WATCH: Bezweni Lodge burnt down in devastating Somerset West fires

During the fires in Jonkershoek last year November, no permanent damage to the hiking trails and tourist facilities was reported by park authorities CapeNature. 

This is what the current fire and smoke over Jonkershoek looks like:


Dire start to 2017 fire season 

So far, in only the first week of 2017, firefighting authorities have had to fight more than 629 fires already.

This before the current fire broke out between Stellenbosch and Franschoek on Monday night.

For Tuesday, the South African Weather Service issued another warning of extremely high fire danger conditions expected over the Cape Metropole, Cape Winelands, West Coast District of the Western Cape and western parts of the Northern Cape.

SEE: Weather Update: Warnings issued as heavy rains head for SA

Previously, South African National Parks and the Volunteer Wildfire Services warned visitors to the Western Cape of the heightened possibilities of wildfires during this summer season. 

Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, warned that the hot and dry conditions across the province indicate another difficult season ahead for firefighting entities. 

READ: 'It's everyone's fight' - firefighters plead ahead of Western Cape fire season

He says, however, that authorities and the public should work together to keep fires at bay. 


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