Firefighter dies in Barrydale wildfire

Photo supplied

A firefighter from the Overberg fire services, fighting a wildfire in the Barrydale area, lost his life yesterday.

The Barrydale fire, also known as the Brandrivier fire, started burning a week ago in the mountains and continues to burn. Resources remain on the scene and efforts are continuing.

Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says Melio van Rooy made the ultimate sacrifice during fire suppression operations.

“On behalf of the Western Cape Government I would like to express our heartfelt sympathy to Mr Van Rooy’s fellow firefighters, his friends and loved ones. This is the second firefighter fatality we have seen this season. The job is never easy and the risks are very real. These tragedies are stark reminders of the life-threatening hazards men and women in the line of duty face on a daily basis.”

According to Bredell two firefighters from the Overstrand district were injured at a fire near Gansbaai. “These two firefighters have been hospitalized and our thoughts and prayers are also with them.”

Bredell has encouraged residents and visitors to the Western Cape to take every precaution possible when it comes to fire as conditions remain at a high risk for further fires.

“We are at the peak of our fire season and conditions are very difficult with strong winds and high temperatures. We want to urge the public to act responsibly, for example by not making outdoor fires in windy conditions and to call the fire services at the earliest possible moment in the event of a fire getting out of hand. The easiest number to remember in the Western Cape is 112.”