[UPDATE] School near Port Elizabeth on fire

CAPE TOWN - Woodridge College and Preparatory School near Port Elizabeth is on fire.

Pupils were evacuated from school grounds earlier because of thick smoke.

The school confirmed all pupils were accounted for and safe off campus.

The blaze in the Van Stadens area, which is being fanned by strong wind, jumped to the school’s administration building this afternoon.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki says firefighters are trying to extinguish the fire that’s also engulfed the library and music blocks are currently on fire.

“That’s the situation now. The strong winds pushed the fire to the school’s direction. We sent an alert for evacuation around 10am on Saturday; everyone in the surrounding farms and people with livestock have been evacuated.”

WATCH: Firefighters fighting fires in Buffalo Bay

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has cut off the electricity in some parts as a safety precaution.

Mayco member for safety and security John Best says, “The evacuation was due to smoke, nothing else. There was no threat of fire. We’re here now and it’s still full of smoke and unfortunately the winds have become gale.”

Meanwhile, some Buffalo Bay residents have been evacuated to an area next to the local beachfront.

Raging fires earlier threatened beachfront property in the area.

Fires blazing along a stretch of road linking the community with the main exit from the town has made it too dangerous for people to leave the area.

WATCH: Helicopter water bombs in Knysna

As a safety precaution, some Buffalo Bay residents have been evacuated from their homes.

Changing winds in the surrounding area are driving flames towards the community.

These residents say they have prayed hard for the situation to change.

“I’m worried about my children. It was unexpected as well as we though the fire was under control.”

Aerial Resources have been grounded due to gale force wind.

GALLERY: The Garden Route fires in pictures

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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