Residents fear fire next to mountain

2015-12-01 06:00

Clearing of overgrown vegetation is expected to get underway this week to protect residents of Simon’s Town, following a recent blaze on the mountain.

The fire gutted half a dozen homes, damaged half a dozen more and burned 300 hectares of vegetation.

Clear plotsFollowing the fire, residents of Neptune Close, Palace Hill Road, Osmond Close and Paradise Road raised concerns around extensive overgrown and dry vegetation on the mountainside behind their homes.

They say they have been lobbying the City council to have this vegetation cleared for four years, as it is a fire hazard and there are no fire breaks to protect residents and their properties in the event of a fire.

Last year, a resident opted to clear one of the empty plots on the hillside at own cost after becoming fed-up with squatters living in the bushes (People’s Post, “Resident clears plot”, 16 September 2014).

This after three years of complaints, in which the council-owned property between Red Hill and Palace Hill roads had become a haven for squatters.

Damaging potentialThe current state being as it is, a fire starting on Red Hill would cause serious damage to a number of properties, residents believe.

Richard Bosman, executive director of City of Cape Town safety and security, says the City’s fire and rescue service visited the site in Palace Hill Road with the complainants on Sunday 22 November. The land in question is next to rental homes on Palace Hill Road.

“A small portion of the land is owned by the City of Cape Town and the remainder continuing up Red Hill Road belongs to Table Mountain National Park and another portion to the Western Cape department of public works,” Bosman explains.

“The City intends to use the seasonal firefighters to clear some of the vegetation next to the houses in Palace Hill Road and this will commence this week. The City’s fire safety division will also inspect the remainder of the land identified and the necessary notices will be served where applicable,” he says.

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