Thornhill residents evacuated

The community of Thornhill came together last night to assist more than 250 residents who were displaced as a result of fires which burnt through the Longmore forest last night.

More than 250 people were evacuated to the Thornhill Community Hall due to the raging fires in the area, the Kouga Municipality said last night.

And while the fires continued to work their way through the proteas and fynbos surrounding the town, a bakkie load of food, blankets and water were dropped off at the community centre.

Thornhill Hotel co owner Elrone Bisping said:” The community instantly banded together and they have been working through the night and this morning.  Donations continue to stream in and we are distributing them to where they are needed.”

Fires were still raging in the Longmore, Van Stadens Gorge and the Lady Slipper area early this morning. Draaifontein Road was closed and the Rocklands Road to Uitenhage was open but visibility was poor due to smoke.

According to Kouga Municipality Media Liaison officer Laura-Leigh Randall, the Longmore fire is now burning in the mountains and the immediate threat to homes had been averted.

“Many people have returned to their houses this morning to check on the safety of their property and possessions. There are still about 100 people at the community hall,” Randall said.

“The fire at Orange Grove that was threatening farms between Humansdorp and Oyster Bay was also extinguished over night,” she said.

No injuries have been reported.

According to Randall, they are in need of milk, bread, soup, tin food, cold drinks, mattresses, water, eye drops and refreshments for firefighters. Donations can be dropped off with the security desk at Kouga Municipality’s head office at 33 Da Gama Road, Jeffreys Bay. The municipality will arrange for donations to be transported to Thornhill.