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Firefighter dies combating South Africa's coastal blazes

Posted June 9

— A firefighter in South Africa died on Friday after suffering severe burns in fires that swept through part of the Garden Route, a tourist destination on the southern coast.

Many residents in Knysna town and surrounding areas that were severely affected by the blazes had little access to water even as helicopters and other aircraft dumped water in an attempt to put out remaining fires. Knysna is in Western Cape province, which has been enduring drought.

James-Brent Styan, a provincial official, tweeted: "Water supply in Knysna running low. May pose additional challenges. People urged to save water." Power was also out in many areas.

At least four people were arrested with goods allegedly stolen from Knysna homes whose owners were evacuated, local media reported.

The death of the volunteer firefighter in a hospital was announced by Firstcare Wildfire Support, a non-profit group.

A total of 10 deaths have been linked to a storm that hit Cape Town and the surrounding coastline on Wednesday, causing floods and high winds that fanned deadly blazes.

The fires in Knysna and nearby areas destroyed hundreds of homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

Authorities said many fires were contained by Thursday night, but the threat of flare-ups remained.

Some 135 schools in Western Cape province were damaged by the storm, according to provincial officials.

In Cape Town, hundreds of makeshift homes belonging to poor residents were damaged by floods and high wind.

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