On the 7th – 12th June 2017, Knysna burnt as gale-force berg winds carried “the perfect fire” across vast swathes of the drought-ridden Garden Route. 180 square kilometers of developed and natural land were razed to ashes in infernos intensified by large tracts of alien and fynbos growth. Seven people died, 1042 homes were damaged or destroyed, hundreds of firefighters brought in from around the country and thousands of people displaced in an area that has since been declared a disaster zone.
The photographs are from the remains of the interior of Sean’s father’s house. They explore the aftermath of a sudden loss, beauty in destruction, and new territories in the burn scars of our belonging.
“When the fire started I was stuck in Cape Town and the only way to gauge what was going on was to incessantly refresh the Knysna fires 7th June Facebook group. Communication with my family was irregular because of the lines going down whilst they were evacuating. The shock of the cataclysm forced me rigid in my chair in front of the computer – this is how I kept informed that night. I made screen grabs from the Knysna fires 7th June Facebook group page.”
ARTICLE: Knysna Blaze in Retrospect by Ivor Powell