Eight die in Karatara fire
In less than 24 hours, a fire that started in Karatara on Monday 29 October claimed more lives than the haunting Knysna fires of 2017.
An unborn baby, six children and two women died an unthinkable death when the house they were in was razed to the ground during one of the biggest wildfires the Garden Route has seen in years.
More than 65 000 hectares of land and vegetation were destroyed by fires around George and Knysna in the past week. Elsabé Windvogel (42), Ethan Windvogel (2), Andrea Bewee (21), Nalaya Oelf (5), Niah Oelf (3), Aliyah Oelf (13 months) and Nalani Oelf (11 months) were all family members of retired SANParks staff living in Farleigh near Karatara. Bewee was expecting her baby to arrive soon.
The family, who was still traumatised on Wednesday morning, did not want to give any comment.
A total of 18 houses burnt down in staff settlements and 75 people were left homeless by the fires. All the victims are currently accommodated in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park.
“We extend our condolences to the family who have tragically lost loved ones in the fire and we will continue to support them in this trying time,” says the park’s acting chief executive officer, Lize McCourt.
She commended members of staff who have been fighting the fire as well as honorary rangers and everyone who worked together to contain the fires.
Approximately 5 000 hectares of fynbos within the national park was destroyed by the fire.
Damage caused by the fire at the SANParks camp in Barrington near Karatara.