Coast KZN

10 Oct 2023

Joint committee formed in wake of Richards Bay woodchip fire

Gugu Myeni (Zululand Observer) Picture: Dave Savides. Firefighters have been hard at work since Saturday afternoon.

A Joint Operations Committee (JOC) has been formed amid an ongoing battle to extinguish the fire that has completely destroyed NCT’s woodchip stockpiles at the Richards Bay mill. The committee is made up of representatives from Provincial Disaster Management, King Cetshwayo District Municipality, City of uMhlathuze, NCT, TWK, Foskor, and other stakeholders.

It will be housed at the Richards Bay Civic Centre and is set to meet twice a day to provide feedback on the ongoing efforts. Approximately 100 000 litres of water were dropped onto the smouldering stockpiles on Monday. By 8am on Tuesday, four flights had dropped more water onto the piles, and the Blackhawk helicopter had also done numerous drops.

Zululand fire protection officer Tony Roberts said it would take at least one month for the fire to burn out, and that it could not be extinguished owing to the magnitude of the woodchip stockpiles.