2 000 fight Cape fires

2015-03-04 22:30
Fire fighters battle a fire near Hout Bay. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

Fire fighters battle a fire near Hout Bay. (Schalk van Zuydam, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - More than 2 000 people are helping to quell the fire in Muizenberg that broke out over the weekend, the environmental affairs department said on Wednesday.

This figure included 150 members of the department's Working on Fire (WoF) programme, department spokesperson Zolile Nqayi said in a statement.

Fifty more people from Volunteer Wildfires Services and 250 WoF firefighters had been dispatched from other provinces to join the effort.

A total of 26 aircraft had been in the air since Sunday, Nqayi said.

"Eleven helicopters, six fixed-wing bombers, and nine spotters which are based in Tulbagh, Porterville, Donkerhoek, Stellenbosch, Bredasdorp, Stilbaai, Newlands, Plettenberg Bay and Knysna, have been deployed to fight these 11 fires."

The 198 flying hours already flown cost an estimated R2.4m.

About two million litres of water had been dumped on the fire in about 2 000 water drops.

The helicopters used to water-bomb the flames have had to stand down because of the smoke and weather, city of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement.

Another fire broke out inside the Cape Point Nature Reserve on Wednesday, he said. A total of 13 properties were affected.

"Three of the properties have been completely destroyed, two in Constantia and one in Noordhoek.

Boyes Drive and Chapman's Peak Drive remained closed to traffic.

Drizzle doesn't do much

Earlier, the city's disaster risk management centre said the rain in Cape Town was helping.

"If it rains hard, it is a bonus for us, but the drizzle doesn't really do much. There is also very little wind in the area," spokesperson Charlotte Powell said.

"When it rains, visibility is a problem for the helicopters so we will have to withdraw our aerial support. The choppers have been water-bombing certain areas."

She said the rain was falling mostly in the Hout Bay area.

A total of 500 people had been evacuated since the fires began on Sunday.

Several agencies were fighting the fire in the South Peninsula. Efforts were focused on Lower Constantia Nek, upper Tokai, Clovelly, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Hout Bay, and Noordhoek, Smith said earlier.

He said there had been conflicting reports about the number of properties damaged. The city's fire and rescue service would go to where damage was reported to clarify the numbers.

Smith thanked those who had been providing food and drink to firefighters.


"However, we have been overrun with donations and I would therefore kindly request that the public refrain from making further donations. We will communicate any further needs as they occur," he said.

Those living in "low-lying areas" and not affected by the approaching fires were asked to use water sparingly. This would ensure emergency teams had enough water to use from reservoirs.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape community safety department said it evacuated staff and students at the Chrysalis Academy on Tuesday around 19:00 as the fire spread towards Tokai.

The fire started on Sunday, but was contained and started again just after 02:00 on Monday in Muizenberg above Boyes Drive. It was fanned by strong winds.

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

One city firefighter sustained burn wounds while 52 frail-care residents from the Noordhoek retirement village were treated for smoke inhalation.

Read more on:    wof  |  vws  |  cape town  |  fires

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.