Wildfire threatens Port Elizabeth, forces evacuations
A large wildfire was burning on Marine Drive in the Noordhoek area of Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, 23 January 2019. Nelson Mandela University says they sent their campus fire fighting team to assist Nelson Mandela Bay Metro fire fighters who were on the scene. The management of the Noordhoek ski-boat club says the fire flared up at around 21h00 on Tuesday night, 22 January 2018 and has been burning on and off ever since. It's not posing any immediate threat to the ski boat club.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality says it has evacuated Pine Lodge as a precautionary measure due to a raging bush fire that is being fuelled by a strong wind. "We managed to secure the Nelson Mandela University and our brave men and women will now form a defensive line against the fire in an attempt to prevent damage to Pine Lodge," the municipality said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them."
Fire fighters were battling the fire and the roads leading to the area have been cordoned off. Meanwhile, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is understood to be evacuating endangered penguins from the area. Earlier on, the Nelson Mandela University said that, "As a precautionary measure, all staff and students on South Campus should leave the campus as soon as possible to avoid smoke inhalation. All students presently in South Campus residences should gather at the Sanlam Student Village (SSV) on North Campus."
It added that the fire on Marine Drive has jumped the fence and was now burning on its reserve. "The wind is exacerbating the situation and causing the fire to move rapidly, resulting is heavy smoke cover," the university said.
"The Fire Department and our own team of fire fighters are currently situated on Aloe Rd, the road between the residences leading to the sport complex. Please be reminded not to make use of the back gate on South or to drive along Marine Drive behind the sports stadium."
The fire is being fanned by a fairly brisk westerly wind and a huge plume of white smoke is visible south of Summerstrand extension.
A researcher at NMU, Kathy Gard took this footage on campus just after 15h00. It shows the veldfire raging near the Sport Centre on South Campus. People in area are asked to leave as a precaution.
Source: Algoa FM, R News