Update on Richards Bay Fires (06/10/2023)
Day seven of the ongoing fire at NCT Richards Bay mill complex dawns with very positive signs showing. The intensity of the wood chip fires is starting to dissipate and the relentless firefighting efforts are starting to show significant progress.
Access to the piles is vastly improved even allowing excavators to start to break down the piles in controlled manner. The closer one can get the more effectively water and retardants can be directed onto hot spots.
It is a cooler, overcast day with a SW wind blowing. These conditions facilitate concentrated firefighting efforts to cool down the chip piles and contain the fire. The TWK flank is fairly safe with the current wind direction, providing everyone on site with a bit of a breather knowing that the neighbours are safe for now. We do expect the wind to turn later today back to NE but in the meantime the piles will be attended to with the full firefighting capacity available on site.
On the downside, the current wind direction is blowing vast quantities of wood smoke towards the residential area of Arboretum. Residents should please take reasonable precautions whilst the smoke persists. Remain indoors if the smoke does make you uncomfortable. Fortunately, NCT’s wood chip operations do not involve any toxic chemical elements, so the smoke remains wood smoke only. The fire retardants / suppressants being used to douse the fire are also by nature of their application in firefighting, non-toxic.
The longer these calmer weather conditions last, the sooner we can get the fire under control and rid the area of the smoke plume once and for all.
NCT remains ever thankful for the massive outpouring of real and substantive support from individuals and organisations from far and wide. True South African spirit is being show cast.
A warning to the public to be aware of scam invitations being circulated on social media to deposit donations into a fire disaster fund. NCT and other organisations involved in firefighting have not established such a fund.
Danny Knoesen – General Manager
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