The evacuation of people and businesses near the Richards Bay fire scene was considered unnecessary by the City of uMhlathuze in KwaZulu-Natal.
Firefighters spent the weekend combating a large wildfire that broke out on Saturday afternoon at a woodchip mill.
Residents in adjacent towns expressed concern that the fire would spread to their homes.
While they were terrified for their lives, authorities were persuaded that the raging fires posed no threat to them.
This was despite the current high winds, which exacerbated the fire’s extinguishment efforts by emergency personnel.
Colani Ngwezi, Mayor of uMhlathuze, commended firefighters and villagers who fought valiantly to put out the fire.
Meanwhile, early investigations found that the fire was started by a conveyor belt that was used to store wooden chips.