'Unprecedented' bush fires in South Africa leave 9 dead

'Unprecedented' bush fires in South Africa leave 9 dead

South Africa's weather service said winds had exceeded 55 miles an hour in parts of the Western Cape province.

By mid-morning‚ about 13 houses had already been evacuated just outside Knysna towards Plettenberg Bay.

Western Cape local government spokesman James-Brent Styan confirmed in a statement that up to 10,000 evacuations had taken place in the town of 77,000 residents.

The military is reportedly planning to help emergency responders in Knysna, which lies on the Garden Route, a popular tourist destination on the southern coast of South Africa.

In a televised media briefing, Western Cape local government official said the body of another person was found Thursday, bringing the total of those killed to nine.

Knysna fire chief Clinton Manual said at least four homes had been destroyed in the Knysna fires.

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Up to 10,000 people in the South African coastal resort of Knysna have been evacuated as wildfires fanned by strong winds ripped through the town, razing homes and other properties, officials said on Thursday.

That sentiment was echoed by the town's mayor‚ Eleanore Bouw-Spies, who told Herald Live: "These are the worst fires I have seen in the 45 years I've lived in Knysna".

In Cape Town, about 827 informal settlement structures were damaged, wither due to flooding and or roofs which were blown off by gale-force winds. Power cuts were reported across the area.

Western Cape Province has been suffering from a severe drought, which is not expected to be eased by the storm.

An Anadolu Agency video journalist in Cape Town said there were few people walking in the city with most businesses closed.

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