Fires in the Southern Cape, which are causing massive devastation in towns like Knysna, have claimed four lives.
The fires started on Tuesday night, and while there were some successes in containing a few fires, strong winds mean that other fires are raging out of control.
Knysna, which has a population of around 77,000, is particularly hard hit.
Columnist and Knysna resident Ivo Vegter said “Knysna is burning down. This is a disaster of epic proportions. I’m stuck in fleeing traffic”.
He said the Knysna Provincial Hospital was burning, and that the whole town was evacuating.
The Eden District Disaster Management Centre said it was liaising with the George Municipality to obtain Go George buses to assist with evacuating people.
In the interim, people are being moved by taxis and other vehicles to the Loerie Park area in the town.
News24 reported that roads are closed between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna and Sedgefield and Knysna.
“There are only two routes into Knysna – both have been closed due to the fires,” said News24.
The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre (WDMC) said on Wednesday night that there was not a mass evacuation, but it is ready should it be necessary.
According to the WDMC, Brenton, Belvedere, Welbedacht, Nania, Eastford, Green Pastures, and Knysna Heights had been evacuated.
On Thursday morning, rain started falling in the area, and the road between Knysna and George was reopened.