Scarboroughmail: The November 2017 fire

“I awake in the dead of the night to the unmistakable acrid, terrifying smell of FIRE close by! My worst fears are realised when outside I am greeted by the devil himself… a howling wind, asphyxiating, thick smoke…an ominous glow of an out of control veld fire heading directly for Scarborough!
The dry, bitter taste of panic sets in….!  I am transfixed by the 30ft high flames that soon appear racing in our direction…thankfully there’s plenty of action about… the Scarborough Volunteer Fire Fighters dressed in their orange jackets, working side by side with the professional Fire Fighting services, battle to control the blaze.  The horrendous sound of the fire greedily consuming everything in its path….”  Kyall Goodman

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Dear Scarborough Resident.

The veld fire that began last Tuesday night was indeed a very close call!  Scarborough & Misty Cliffs Firefighting Unit (SMCFU) and the professional Fire Fighters had to dig very deep to contain the fires. It’s a tribute to their dedication and training that no lives or property were lost, and we, as a village, are deeply indebted to their commitment, courage and enduring strength.

Scarborough’s unique location necessitates the constant need for a well trained and well equipped firefighting unit that can immediately respond to the threat of fire – and this is where we need your help.

Since the fire, we have done a thorough assessment of our equipment. Fire-fighting and time are both hard on equipment, and we have suffered significant wear and tear, particularly on hoses and pumps. We also saw the value of backpack sprayers in damping down hot-spots and flare-ups after the main fire had been subdued. We realized that we need a couple of back-up pump kits to deploy on bakkies for improved mobility and responsiveness.

To continue to function effectively and efficiently, we need to purchase the following items:

–   3 X Pump Kits @ +/- R7500 each (image below)
–   2 X 20 litre Backpack Pressure Sprayers @ R3050 each
–   6 X Hoses +/-R5000

So, in total, we are looking for around R26 000

The SMCFU is a bunch of dynamic and committed locals. We are all volunteers who put an enormous amount of time and effort into protecting our village against the constant threat of fire. If you are privileged enough to live here permanently or have a weekend or holiday house in this most beautiful village, then we ask you to please dig deep into your pockets and help us to keep this vital unit functioning optimally.

You can donate via EFT into the account below, or if more convenient, to bring your donation to The Village Hub. Ask for Natasha or the manager on duty.

Absa Bank
Account: SMCFU
Branch: 63 2005 (Claremont)
Account no: 407 659 3855
Ref: SMCFU + your name.

Please email payment advice to

A reminder: the SMCFU usually run training sessions on the 3rd Sunday of every month.  Our next session is scheduled for this Sunday 19th November 2017 from 09.30 – 11.00.  If you would like to join a group of volunteers dedicated to fire defense for the village, please come along to the training or contact me on 082 340 3000. We need more trained people.

With sincere thanks,

Kevin O’Brien,  Chairman, SMCFU

The equipment that we need:

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The following photos were taken by Jean Tresfon who often passes overhead in his gyrocopter – his photos are always stunning. These show the extent of the fire damage around Scarborough. (see Facebook: Jean Tresfon Photography)

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Close shave… The fire still smouldering inside the Cape Point Nature Reserve after having burned right alongside the village of Scarborough…

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Looking like a green oasis within a scorched wasteland, the Gray farmstead was saved only by the dedicated efforts of many people.

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Scarborough comes close once again…. the mountains to the north are only just recovering from the last fire.

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