UPDATE | SANParks suspends hiking and mountain biking around Table Mountain in wake of fire

2020-03-16 13:53
Cars damaged as the fire on Table Mountain raged on 15 March 2020.

Cars damaged as the fire on Table Mountain raged on 15 March 2020. (Twitter/@TableMountainNP)

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Mountain biking and hiking activities have been suspended due to the closing of Lion's Head and the Glen footpaths, following the wildfire that spread along Tafelberg Road in Cape Town on Sunday.

South African National Parks (SANParks) has requested residents to practice extreme caution during the rest of the fire season, after approximately 60 hectares of vegetation were burnt, and a number of cars and apartments damaged. 

Seven fire fighters are receiving treatment after they were injured while trying to put out the fire.

According to SANParks, the rapid spread of the fire was caused by the unpredictable weather conditions. They have appointed Enviro Wildfire Services to do an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.

A fire ravages the slopes of Table Mountain and Si

A fire ravages the slopes of Table Mountain and Signal Hill in gale force winds. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

"Residences and witnesses have come forward with video footage and other information that suggests that the fire was actively started by somebody and a case has been laid with the SAPS", said City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith.

On Monday morning, 100 firefighters were to remain on the scene through the day, and volunteers from the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) would be activated in the evening to monitor the area and continue with mop-up operations, Western Cape spokesperson Lauren Clayton said in a statement.

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has dispatched three Huey Helicopters and one fixed wing Spotter plane to wet down those areas that are still burning.

"Please be advised that entire Lion's Head and the Glen footpaths vicinity has been closed. No hiking or mountain biking activities is permitted in these areas," Clayton said in the statement.

SANPark confirmed that the plan was to secure the perimeter and hot spots in priority areas, which include Kloof Road, Nettleton Road, below and above Tafelberg Road, and Kloofnek Forrest in Table Mountain National Park.

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