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The sun burnt a bright orange colour I had never seen before. It was late afternoon when we drove back to Knysna from outside Plettenberg Bay two weeks ago. The ash and smoke that gave the sky a faint hue affected the sun's rays in a way only a romantic painter could imagine at sunset, and it was only 3pm. When we had arrived in George it was with a car covered in snow-like ash. It was the first of many days where we would be covered in the fallout from the huge fires that have been plaguing the Garden Route. Rumours in town hinted that it was a man-made spark that started the two fires east of us, unlike the lightning strike blamed the previous year. People were worried that it would be a repeat of the June 2017 fires, in which seven people died and at least 1,000 homes were destroyed. The mark of last year’s fire is still visible on the land, with both sides of the N2 flanked by burned trees like something out of an apocalyptic movie. Almost 10,000 people were evacuated in 2017. O...

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