Wildfires have cost city of Cape Town millions... so far

2017-01-12 17:19
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PICS: Wildfires engulf mountains in Simon's Town

Wildfires in Simon's Town have destroyed several hundred hectares of vegetation with residents of Glencairn and the military apartments in the area having been evacuated overnight.

Cape Town - Wildfires in Somerset West and Simon’s Town during the past two weeks have cost the City of Cape Town R10m, with three months of the fire season still ahead.

Executive director for safety and security Richard Bosman told News24 on Thursday that the estimated costs of the two fires was in the region of R10m. This included the costs of staff, vehicles used to transport firefighting equipment, and the deployment of helicopters.

Bosman said that the total expense would only be known once the fires have been extinguished.

"A fire report is compiled after an incident is closed. In this instance, the Somerset West and Simon’s Town incidents have not yet been closed, as active firefighting and monitoring activities continue,” he said.

READ: Residents evacuated as fires hit Simon's Town

The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety, JP Smith, told the media on Monday that the city’s fire brigade might require additional funding.

"The budget is very negatively impacted by the past week. It ate a hole into my budget for the rest of the year; financial year until 30 June, [the budget] is now significantly less."

"So for the remainder of the year we will be more exposed; we might have to end up adding funding. This is not a healthy situation," he said.

According to Bosman, the City’s fire and rescue department would request additional funding when required.

"The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service has a duty to protect residents, and additional budget will be sought if need be to supplement the existing budget and keep firefighters on the front-lines," he said.

Wildfires in Cape Town have damaged at least 650ha of vegetation in Somerset-West, including the luxury Bezweni Lodge, while at least two homes were been gutted by wildfires in Simon's Town on Wednesday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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