Cape Town fire danger ’not entirely over just yet'

Cape Town fire danger ’not entirely over just yet’


Despite the wildfire that broke out on the slopes of Table Mountain on Sunday morning having been largely contained, the danger has not entirely passed.

Anton Bredell, the local government MEC for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, warned that the danger was not entirely over just yet.

He said that overnight the wind dropped significantly, allowing helicopters to water-bomb the fire lines from early in the morning.

“Our first priority remains fully extinguishing all of the fire lines. Then, over the next few days, firefighters will continue to dampen down the affected areas and monitor for flare-ups until we are 100% sure the fire is out.

“Damage assessments will be done as well and once the fire has been extinguished the investigation into the cause of the fire will be conducted.”

Bredell said it has been a remarkable effort by all the parties involved.

“Tackling an operation of this scale and nature is not something any one entity can do alone. We want to acknowledge the City of Cape Town, the Table Mountain National Park, Working on Fire and Volunteer Wildfire Services as well as the SANDF.”

Video: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

The latest damage reports show a total of eleven structures were damaged or destroyed over the past three days.

These include:

  • 2 Houses in the Rosebank area
  • 6 Education buildings on the University of Cape Town campus
  • 2 Heritage buildings including the Mostert’s Mill and UCT Jagger Library
  • 1 Restaurant at Rhodes Memorial.

Nine civilians were taken to hospital with breathing challenges after smoke inhalation and six firefighters sustained injuries in the line of duty.

Premier Alan Winde said: “I have such deep appreciation for the efforts of the City of Cape Town under mayor Dan Plato, the Table Mountain National Park, Working on Fire and Volunteer Wildfire Services as well as the SANDF who were all supported by the Western Cape Government.”

Winde continued: “I especially want to thank the hard-working men and women who are serving on the front line, risking their lives to put a stop to the fires. Their efforts have been nothing short of heroic.”

He also thanked the numerous NGOs, private businesses and residents in the province who have generously made donations.

“It is incredibly heart-warming to see how we have come together as a province and as a city in this time of crisis to save our mountain and heritage sites.”

The City of Cape Town’s Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) said that they have co-ordinated joint damage assessments to initiate repairs to the roadways and other infrastructure damaged by the Rhodes Memorial fire.

“Solid Waste Management has been activated to clear the fire debris.

“The Electricity Department has advised that no major damage has occurred to the medium voltage infrastructure. However, the overhead lines to affected buildings have been damaged,” said spokesperson Charlotte Powell.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Health Service is doing ongoing water sampling at the Molteno reservoir to ensure that any ash from the fire does not affect the water quality.

Powell added that during the course of Monday night, residents who were evacuated were given the go-ahead to return to their homes.

“The DRMC would like to thank the neigbourhood watches for assisting us with the evacuation call. This is a clear indication that working with DRM volunteers and neighbourhood watches strengthens resilience in a major incident.”

Cape Argus

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