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Fires raging in top South African wine region

Published on Jan 29, 2013 5:47 AM

CAPE TOWN (AFP) - South African firefighters battled on Monday to contain a runaway fire in the country's picturesque wine lands, one of several blazes raging in the Western Cape in which one person has died.

A line of nearly 17km was burning away from the top tourist destination of Franschoek, about an hour's drive from Cape Town, in the direction of nearby Paarl which lies to the north-east.

"The fire is now burning out of control, it's coming down on properties," said Mr Royston Harris, station manager of the Cape Winelands municipality fire station in Stellenbosch. "A lot of properties are in danger, lives are in danger. We're trying our best to just save wherever we can."

Farms in the area were under threat and strong winds were making conditions difficult for firefighters, he said.

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