Cape Town fire rages on

2015-03-03 10:42

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Firefighters are still battling three areas in Muizenberg where a fire broke out over the weekend.

“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,” Cape Town disaster risk management spokesperson 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 near Military Road are water-bombing the area to protect the property.”

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

The Hout Bay Civic Association today thanked the firefighters – 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 tomorrow to assist these fighters to win this battle against this fierce fire.”

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

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement 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 yesterday 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 were 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 yesterday.

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

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