Local authorities announced on Sunday, June 11, that wildfires that hit Knysna (Western Cape region) between June 7 and June 11 are now under control thanks to more favorable weather conditions and the efforts of approximately 800 firefighters. The fires reportedly destroyed at least 439 properties (including deluxe tourist hotels), displaced more than 10,000 people, and claimed the lives of seven people. Around 300 firefighters are still working on the ground to prevent possible flare-ups. The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association has established an operations center for medical emergencies, missing persons reports, lost passports, repatriation requests, and counseling services. Residual transportation disruptions and power outages are possible.
The Western Cape Disaster Management authority issued a “severe” fire risk warning for the weekend of June 9-12 for Knysna, due to major wildfires threatening tourist resorts and nearby towns, including Plettenberg Bay, Eden District, Sedgefield, and Brenton on Sea. A "severe" warning indicates an extreme meteorological event or phenomenon that represents a threat to human life and property.
Individuals present in the Western Cape region are advised to keep abreast of weather forecasts, adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. potential evacuation orders).
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