Comment of Calais Owners

Dear all,

Thank you for your compation, warm words, calls and sms. I couldnt respond to all of you right away as we were quite busy these days.

Me, Konstantin Fedotov, our animals and people are safe. It will take us some time to get to normal life.

I want to say THANK YOU:
To my dear friend Anna Green who was with us that night and help me a lot with packing and transferring animals.
Also Tessa Van Leeuwen Boomkamp, Katja Benskin, Michelle Mazurkiewicz for help with evacuation horses.
Thank you to my brave manager Tollie who was driving with his dogs in the car and fighting fires with our workers and volonteers.
And THE WHOLE TEAM of Drakenstein Farm Watch, who fought that fire and riscked their lives to save people and our house as many others.
To riot squad of Paarl Police for saving some of our possessions from burning house and chasing away media people.
Thank you to Leliefontain kennels to accommodate all my animals (except for the snake)))
To the Van Leeuwen Boomkamp family for sheltering us at their De Leeuwenhof Guest House.

We are VERY lucky to be surrounded with such a wonderful people, who already helped us a lot and continue offering their help, clothes, furniture, houses and money.

We are stable and fine at the moment, but if you want to help, please, rather donate money to Drakenstein Farm Watch organization. These people are volunteers, they are ordinary farmers, owners of the houses, hotels and wineries. They are running their businesses during the day and at night saving the world, us and those who need it the most.

Fire season just started and that means that they will have more battles ahead. These brave people constantly need proper masks as they go into the fire and burning houses, proper outfit, firetracktors equipment, dogs food for rescued dogs etc.

Please your NAME + DONATION as reference
Nedbank Branch code 102905
Nedbank account nr 1088514472

And for us its time to get a house of our dreams, which will be even better and stronger! Its going to be tough but interesting year.

Lots of love,
Anastasia and Konstantin

P.S See you 4 March at Omniberg Wine Festival at Calais Wine Estate, we are going to be there together with Druk-My-Nuit Wines who also burned down. We need your support and our workers need their jobs, so please, come.
We are not giving up!!!)))

Update

For now it is all quiet on our side of the mountain. We hope and pray that it stays that way so that our firefighters and rescue teams can recuperate and regain some energy.

The main message behind all these events should be that we should not give up. We keep going and we do not lose hope. Please report any flare up as quick as you can. We want to prevent anything like this from happening again.

We thank all of you have been so generous in all different ways. Your donations go to great use and your support and kind words are extremely motivating.

We as the community of Paarl must stand together. Old or young, big or small, english or afrikaans. Lets not give up or give in and rather fight these fires together physically, mentally and emotionally.

We send our best wishes to other towns and communities being hit by the devastating fires.

Cause of Cape fires still unknown, blaze rages on in Paarl

CAPE TOWN – Firefighters say they haven’t lost hope as they continue to battle a devastating blaze in Paarl.

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At least 200 firefighters struggled to contain the fire on Tuesday.

They’ve been assisted by two helicopters as well as two helicopters from the Defence Force.

The blaze started on Monday on the slopes of the Du Toitskloof pass.

Drakenstein Farm Watch secretary Tessa van Leeuwen Boomkamp says it has been an exhausting couple of days.

“If we lose hope then we must all go home and sleep. It is something I would love to do, but I haven’t lost hope.”

She has commended efforts by firefighters and locals in the community.

“All people helped to evacuate animals. People came from all over to help. The security company has also shown immense support.”

According to the Winelands Fire Protection Association’s Dale Nortje, one house has been engulfed by the flames and four other houses have been damaged.

Another hot and windy day has been forecast in the valley, which could fan flames and hamper firefighting efforts.

Press Release

Yesterday afternoon, the 16th January 2017

Drakenstein Farm watch, were first responders to anothyer firefight starting around 14.00 hrs at the old pass road in the du touit kloof pass mountain ridge in Paarl. The heavy wind made helicopter operations impossible but the fire was relatively under control till 24.00 hr as it then jumped to the lower section and into the farming area. around 01.30 on the 17th the drakenstein farm watch called all field commanders and active members to the task and the teams with their commanders from “dal Josafat, Simondium, klein Drakenstein, Val de Vie, and wemmershoek” responded with their fire-trucks and resque teams. A joint radio-network and command centre was set-up and our controllers took the joint operation at hand.

The first priority was to get the local farmers and their staff ” farm-workers” out of the area and evacuation centre was set up at Calais Wine Farm. (This farm later, got hit the worst and is totally destroyed ). Hundreds of people were brought by our farm-watch resque teams to this spot, handed comfort and then handled by Paarl police. Our fire-trucks fought bravely to get the flames under control and only a miricle prevented many other dwellings to go up in smoke as well. The drakenstein Farm watch teams pulled back at around 13.00 on the 17th . Our farmwatch was assisted by various security companies, who all helped greatly to overcome gross loss of life. Thanks to especially ADT and Vestus Scola and Paarl police for a massive and well co-ordinated response together with our JOC (joint operations Centre).


The drakenstein Farm watch is fully privately funded, well organised and equipped with fire-trucks, skit-units and evacuation vehicles and runs its own 24/7 control-centre for general emergencies, medical issues and specializes in fire-fighting. For donations to help us fund our fire fighting and search and resque operations and animal evacuation efforts, we kindly ask the public to donate to the drakenstein Farm watch: Nedbank Current account


Nedbank Branch 102905
Account Number 1088514472

Calais Wine Estate Fire

16 January 2017 – Drakenstein Farm Watch Rescue teams.

At 01h30 a red glow re-appeared on the Du Toitskloof pass which was sweeping through the Cape Pine forestry towards various Wine Estates and Gueshouses.

The Drakenstein Farm watch deployed multiple teams which responded to alarming calls for assistance to evacuate Animals, People and to cry-outs to protect the properties that were threatened by the fires.

Being volunteer driven we tried our utmost best to be everywhere at the same time, the teams worked extremely hard in terrible weather conditions. We are exceptionally proud of what we did achieve, and we grieve the loss of the beautiful Calais wine estate which posed no threat to the flames but tiny bits of hot ashes overpowered the thatched roof.

For any donations to help the farm watch improve their equipment in order to upgrade their equipment, get more progressive body gear for those on the front line, and in order to aid with animal and human evacuations.

Please your NAME + DONATION as reference.
Nedbank Branch code 102905
Nedbank account nr 1088514472

We appreciate your support.

With Special thanks to the following people:

ADT Security: For being part of the Drakenstein Farm Watch and for assisting us where necessary.
Vetus Scola: For providing us with cold drinks and being assisting with evacuations.
Patrick Hall: For your loyalty to the Drakenstein Farm watch and always having our back.
Paarl Police: Especially the riot squad who went out of their way to assist us with evacuating Calais wine estate manor house, the uphill battle did not intervene with the persistence and perserverance that you demonstrated.
Lelifontein Kennels: For opening up your doors for evacuated animals.
Michelle Mazurkiewicz: For co-ordinating the evacuation of horses.
Tchutara Stud: For housing and helping evacuating animals.
Calais Wine estate: For initially opening your doors to all evacuated people.
The People of Paarl & Wellington: For your generous donations in form of Water, Cooldrinks and Food.

Together we stand strong.

Video of the Fire

Voortrekkers Kamp Fire

After a flare-up yesterday in the du toit kloof mountains in Paarl, the drakenstein farm watch assisted with a big team, trucks and trailers, high up in the mountains. Some farmer dwellings were saved and would have been taken by the intens fire if not for our groups effort.

At least 5 helicopters, a massive deployment of cape winelands fire brigade and our own farm-watch teams were succesfull. As we were nearly finished, we got a call regarding a wemershoek fire and more than 160 kids possibly trapped by flames. All teams rushed to wemershoek and took on the fire and our teams also took care of the evacuation of the childeren. The call for help with that, was positive and many responded, taken all to safety. Again, the drakenstein farm-watch, cape winelands fire and helicopters were succesfull and got the fires out.

Due to expected high winds and possible fire flair-ups,  we all thought it was too risky to return the childeren to the wooden chalets and they were taken elswhere. Great team-work and the radio network proved again it great potential. The biggest concern is the fact, that we are sure we are dealing ( also according the other commanders of cape winelands) with arsinest who deliberately set the fires on. We persue our route, to get the legality in place, to empower the farm-watch commanders in being able to write a fine for starting a fire, for whatever reason so whatso ever, and go after people who find themselves illigialy in the forrests.