Cape Town fire still blazing

By Drum Digital
03 March 2015

Firefighters were still battling three areas in Muizenberg where a fire broke out over the weekend, Cape Town Disaster Risk Management said on Tuesday.

"Firefighters worked throughout the night, they are on the ground battling three sectors at Chapman's Peak at the Hout Bay side, Tokai Forest and Noordhoek," spokeswoman Charlotte Powell said.

"The fire is high up on the mountain and ground crews are dealing with sporadic flare ups. Two choppers in the Hout Bay area by Military road are water bombing the area to protect the property."

She said various rescue crews worked overnight to try and contain the fire.

The Hout Bay Civic Association on Tuesday thanked the fire-fighters who have been working around the clock for their courage and bravery.

"Firefighters have been on watch in our community and on the fire belt since this morning when the fire changed its direction," the association said in a statement.

"We are humbled by the dedication shown by these brave men and women and welcome reports of rain on Wednesday to assist these fighters in win this battle against this fierce fire."

On Monday, the City of Cape Town said that three helicopters water-bombed Hout Bay and Tokai until sunset.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement that the city's fire and rescue service, disaster risk management staff and volunteers, Table Mountain National Park, Working On Fire volunteers, Wild Land Fire Services, and the Volunteer Wildfire Services would remain on scene.

The fire started on Sunday but was contained and started again just after 2am on Monday in Muizenberg above Boyes Drive and was fanned by strong winds.

It spread to Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman's Peak, Hout Bay and Tokai.

One city firefighter had been admitted to hospital after sustaining burn wounds while 52 frail-care residents from the Noordhoek retirement village were treated for smoke inhalation.

Five homes had been destroyed along Silvermine in Noordhoek.

There was also some damage to parts of Tintswalo Lodge at the foot of Chapman's Peak.

Smith said about 30 houses were evacuated in Noordhoek.

Residents of the San Michelle Old-Age Home and the Noordhoek Manor Retirement Village were also evacuated but have since been able to return home.

Earlier, the Western Cape environmental affairs department said an extra 250 firefighters were called in to tackle blazes across the Western Cape on Monday.

MEC Anton Bredell decided to bring in reinforcements and further aerial support because fire crews were exhausted.

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