#3314 - Knysna, Western Cape, South Africa - Wildfires Recovery

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Wildfires have devastated the Western and Southern Cape provinces of South Africa. Nine people have been killed and thousands were left homeless. The disaster has been described as the worst fire the area has experienced on record.

While the exact cause of the fires has not yet been determined, they began following the worst storm the region has experienced in thirty years. The storm struck the coast of South Africa on the evening of 6 June and brought with it powerful winds which fuelled and spread the fires. This was in addition to the worst drought the Western Cape has experienced in over a century.

10,000 people were evacuated and over a thousand fire fighters worked to halt the fires. At one point the fire line stretched for 100km and continuing strong winds made the direction of the fires unpredictable and difficult to control. Two fire fighters died in the efforts to stop the blaze but it is believed that after four days of work the fires were successfully contained on 11 June. Nevertheless, residents have been advised not to return to their homes until authorities have completed damage assessments and confirmed that it is safe.

The town of Knysna was particularly affected, where almost 500 buildings had been destroyed. Many of those affected have lost all of their belongings in the devastating fires.

Source: International Disasters Charter

Created by bgirardot - Updated - Priority: low


Entities to Map
buildings, roads
Changeset Comment
#hotosm-project-3314 #wildfire
When saving your work, please leave the default comment but add what you actually mapped, for example "added buildings and a residential road".


  • Please map roads as completely as possible by connecting them to the main road networks where ever possible.
  • Very short segments that do not connect to anything should not be mapped.
  • Short segments of a road or path that you cannot see through the trees but seem very likely to exist should be mapped to keep the road complete
  • Try and map a little beyond your task square so the person who maps the task square next to yours can easily connect them.
  • Always connect roads to other roads where they meet and never end roads on Residential area polygon edges.

You will most often use the following "Road Features" and "Path Features" (iD Web Editor):

  • Minor/Unclassified - This is for roads that connect small villages and settlements
  • Residential Road - These are roads that are in settlements but only are used for access to houses and buildings.
  • Unmaintained Track Road - This is for roads that only lead to farm fields or forests. They do not connect settlements or residential areas.


  • Please accurately outline all the buildings you can find. The outline should be for the full size of the building even if it is partly covered by trees in the imagery.
  • After drawing the outline, use the 's' key in the iD web editor to "square" the corners.
  • Many buildings are very close, but do not actually touch each other, try to map them close to each other without letting them connect or share nodes with each other, roads or residential area outlines. In the iD web editor, holding down the "alt" key will keep nodes of "snapping" to each other and accidentally connecting.
  • In the iD web editor, the first time you map a building you will use the "Building Features" category and then at the top of the list select "Building" again, this is the most generic building tag we can use as we almost never can tell the more specific use of any building from imagery alone.

Only if you have personal knowledge of a building, please add that information to the building, like the name or type of building (hospital, school, gas station, etc)

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