Thi­rd fi­re re­port to shed lig­ht?

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - S­te­fan Goo­sen

It has been al­most a y­e­ar sin­ce the fi­res and still the­re is no cla­ri­ty on who or w­hat was re­spon­si­ble for the de­structi­ve in­fer­no.

Af­fected re­si­dents ha­ve al­re­a­dy star­ted re­buil­ding, so­me ha­ve cho­sen to le­a­ve, whi­le ot­hers are see­king to claim da­ma­ges from who they deem the re­spon­si­ble or li­a­ble par­ty. Two op­po­sing the­o­ries that ha­ve grab­bed the at­ten­ti­on of re­si­dents and the coun­try at lar­ge we­re tho­se put for­ward by the Knys­na mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty and A­friForum. ‘Hu­man acti­vi­ty’

As pre­vi­ous­ly re­por­ted by Knys­na-P­lett He­rald (KPH), fi­re chief C­lin­ton Ma­nu­el found that the fi­re was cau­sed by hu­man acti­vi­ty, w­hen flam­ma­ble ma­te­ri­al was in­tro­du­ced in­to the E­lands­kraal a­rea – pi­ne co­nes we­re found w­he­re no pi­ne trees grew and stac­ked fu­el such as planks we­re found ne­ar­by. He sta­ted that we­at­her con­di­ti­ons on the day fu­el­led t­his fi­re al­ong. ‘U­nat­ten­ded lig­hting stri­ke’

In con­trast, the A­friForum re­port by fo­ren­sic s­cien­tist Dr Da­vid Klat­zow sta­tes that an u­nat­ten­ded lig­ht­ning stri­ke in the E­lands­kraal a­rea mont­hs be­fo­re 7 Ju­ne cau­sed un­der­ground smoul­de­ring which, fu­el­led by we­at­her con­di­ti­ons on the day, fla­red in­to a full-blo­wn bla­ze – an o­pi­ni­on shared by se­ver­al ot­her pe­op­le, no­ta­bly the en­gi­neer and s­cien­tist Dr Wal­la­ce Vos­loo.

The­re is a­not­her re­port, though, that mig­ht of­fer a dif­fe­rent per­specti­ve. A­not­her view?

In­de­pen­dent com­pa­ny Vul­can Wild­fi­re Ma­na­ge­ment was con­trac­ted by the We­stern Ca­pe go­vern­ment to com­pi­le a re­port, and di­rec­tor Ry­an Hey­den­rych said in his la­test com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on with KPH: “We ha­ve con­clu­ded our re­port and a­na­ly­sis and de­li­ver­ed t­his to our c­lient, the We­stern Ca­pe Di­rec­to­ra­te Di­sas­ter Ma­na­ge­ment and Fi­re & Res­cue Ser­vi­ces. As such, in or­der to get the ans­wers you seek, I re­fer you to (them).”

A que­ry re­gar­ding the re­port has been sent to pro­vin­ci­al go­vern­ment but at the ti­me of going to print, no ans­wer was a­vai­la­ble.

Du­ring pre­vi­ous com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons with Hey­den­rych, he said the re­port was com­pi­led through con­ducting in­ter­views with in­du­stry pro­fes­si­o­nals, fi­re ser­vi­ces, di­sas­ter ma­na­ge­ment, mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ty, etc. “We ha­ve col­la­ted in­for­ma­ti­on from fi­ve days we spent in Knys­na du­ring the on­going in­ci­dent as well as from a two-week pe­ri­od du­ring which we con­ducted in­ter­views and vi­si­ted key lo­ca­ti­ons in Knys­na and its sur­rounds,” he ad­ded. ‘Ho­lis­tic a­na­ly­sis’

Ac­cor­ding to Hey­den­rych the re­port is a “ho­lis­tic a­na­ly­sis of the Knys­na fi­re in­ci­dent in or­der to un­der­stand w­hat les­sons can be le­ar­ned”.

“It is not ai­med at the o­ri­gin or cau­se, or fin­ding re­spon­si­bi­li­ty, as that is very much the ro­le of a fi­re in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on,” he said, and ad­ded, “The re­port ta­kes a con­structi­ve look at the re­spon­si­bi­li­ty we all s­ha­re in un­der­stan­ding the risk po­sed by wild­fi­res, as well as w­hat we can do to be bet­ter pre­pa­red,” he said.

A­not­her re­port in­te­rested par­ties ha­ve been wai­ting for in an­ti­ci­pa­ti­on is an in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on con­ducted by s­cien­tis­ts at the Coun­cil for S­cien­ti­fic and Industrial Re­se­arch’s Me­ra­ka In­s­ti­tu­te. Que­ries re­gar­ding t­his re­port we­re left u­nans­we­red at the ti­me of going to print.

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.