Knysna Fire
Photo Credit: On File

The Knysna Fire devastated the community 5 years ago; the Garden Route Fire Watch reflects on the past disaster and commends the community for remaining united all these years later.


Garden Route, South Africa (07 June 2022) – Five years ago, the Knysna Fire started making headlines throughout South Africa. The tragic event sent thousands of people fleeing their homes. It was a day we will never forget!

Now 5 years later, the Garden Route Fire Watch is reflecting on the events and how they pulled the community together in unwavering support and how that community has stuck together ever since!

The Garden Route Fire Watch is an organisation run by private citizens with a desire to prevent happenings of the past by collecting information about fires and natural disasters from the greater Garden Route area. They share this information in the hopes of keeping the community aware and prepared.

Not only does the Fire Watch alert to fires in the area, they aim to give back. After all the aid and support offered to the Knysna community, the Fire Watch raises awareness for other communities in need of support during times of fire.

The team took to Facebook to reflect on the devastating fires that took place 5 years ago.

“5 Years – We Remember. We are here if you still need a ear or just to chat.

5 years ago, on the 7th June 2017, Knysna and surrounds was hit by one of the worst natural disasters in 150 years. Fires ravaged our little town and surrounding areas, causing the evacuation of thousands of people and the destruction of nearly 1000 homes and businesses.

On this, this 5th anniversary of a time in our lives many would rather forget, we reflect on the circumstance that brought us to this point. We reflect on the lives that were lost and those who gave their lives to protect us. We honour those lives.

We also reflect on the losses suffered by so many and we reflect on the helping hands that, with open hearts and radiant smiles, helped them to get up and face the rest of the year with someone by their side to catch them should they be overwhelmed by the gravity of it all.

We reflect upon the people we’ve met, the friendships we’ve made and the new-found sense of community that this disaster has instilled on us all.

It is important to remember how we got here but it is equally important that we look forward and hold our heads up high and say: “We survived”

Nobody will ever forget what brought us to this point in our lives, many will never be able to grasp just how insane those first few days, and the following months were.

7 people lost their lives as a result of the fires. We Remember them.

Thousands of people lost the place they call home. We Remember them.

Hundreds of people lost their place of work, their businesses and their means of income. We Remember them.

Hundreds of beloved pets and animals were lost to the fires. We Remember them.

Thousands of people, from firefighters to fire management units, the SANDF, emergency medical services, the NSRI, local and provincial police and traffic officials as well as individuals, spared no thought for their own lives in helping to get people, pets and property to safety. We Remember them.

Many thousands of people opened their hearts and hands and began volunteering to help those who couldn’t help themselves. People from all around South Africa came to help. We Remember them.

Many thousands of people donated thousands of tons of goods, from clothing, to appliances, to furniture, to food, even going so far as to include messages of hope in some of the items. We Remember them.

Many thousands of people from all across the Globe donated Millions of Rands to help victims of the fires start to rebuild their lives. We Remember them.

Various groups, organisations, churches and charities set up distribution centres and funds to help victims of the fires. We Remember them.

Hundreds of companies from across South Africa donated money and goods to help the victims of the fires. We remember them.

If the years in our lives can be defined as chapters in a book, then this chapter in our lives has taught us that nothing is certain. That no matter how well we plan, it can be gone in an instant. Nothing is forever, and we must celebrate each day as if our last.

With this in mind, we would like to encourage every single person out there to learn from the past, plan for the future but live for today. Love like there is no tomorrow, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, phone that friend you haven’t seen for so long, smile at a stranger, be silly, laugh a lot and live like today is the only day that matters.

Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, and today; Today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.”

Sources: Garden Route Fire Watch
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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