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Wildfires tear through South Africa's scenic wine region

Hundreds of firefighters battle wildfires in wine country.

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Parts of South Africa's wine region are up in flames, with wildfires destroying over 7,000 hectares of land in the last three days. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Large wildfires are burning through South Africa's winelands, prompting authorities to declare a code red emergency and dispatch over 200 firefighters to overwhelmed areas, according to News24.

No deaths from the fires were reported as of Tuesday, said Agence-France Press

GlobalPost Senior Corresondent in Johannesburg Erin Conway-Smith said  that a smokey haze hung around the tourist towns of Paarl and Franschhoek, home to many of the country's top wine producers and some of its best restaurants.

"So far the fire has been contained to the surrounding mountains, but there are concerns it could quickly spread. Several homes have been gutted and at least two farms in the area evacuated," Conway-Smith said. "Local residents have called it the worst fire in 30 years."

Officials worry that strong winds will make the situation worse.

Some 7,100 hectares of land is already up in smoke, according to AFP, citing "perfect conditions" for their growth given the wind and hot weather.

"The fire is not under control at the moment," Liesl Brink, the fire-fighting unit's incident command spokeswoman told AFP.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/130129/code-red-declared-wildfires-tear-through-south-afri