Wildfire flare-ups expected in Simon’s Town

2017-01-12 18:06
Wildfires at Goudini Spa resort have damaged four rondavels. (Abidah Dixon Mohamed, Facebook)

Wildfires at Goudini Spa resort have damaged four rondavels. (Abidah Dixon Mohamed, Facebook)

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Cape Town – Wildfires in Simon’s Town are expected to flare up on Thursday afternoon as the wind direction changes, the city said.

“It is expected that a change in wind intensity and direction will cause the fire to flare up and spread into the unburnt area,” Fire and Rescue spokesperson Theo Layne said.

Crews would stay on the scene for the remainder of the day and into the night. Wind speed was expected to reach 40km/h.

So far one house and a garden shed had been completely destroyed. Six other homes were partially damaged.

Layne said 304 firefighters were on the scene.

The City of Cape Town, Table Mountain National Park, and Working on Fire were among the organisations fighting the blaze.

Two SA National Defence Force helicopters and one contracted to Table Mountain National Park had resumed water-bombing in the area.

Meanwhile the City of Cape Town has said despite hundreds of fire awareness sessions, the number of fires in Cape Town has not decreased.

In addition, the city experimented with a media campaign in 2016, in the hope of reducing the number of fires, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said at a press briefing on Monday.

“But it also didn't have the desired impact.”

They were now running out of ideas on how to get the public's attention and some soul-searching was needed, he said.

The city hosted 870 awareness sessions during 2016, ahead of the fire season.

“We do a large number of these awareness sessions to alert people to the dangers of not putting out a fire, of having a braai fire that is unattended, of fireworks, of throwing stompies out of windows etc,” he said.

Wildfires in Cape Town had caused more than R60 million in damage in Somerset West. At least two buildings burnt down in Simon’s Town on Wednesday.

All fires started by humans

Smith said all fires were started by humans, but the issue was determining whether it was accidental or malicious.

“What you need is just one act of irresponsible behaviour and you have these kinds of massive consequences, these financially disastrous consequences,” Smith said.

While the number of people killed by the fires had decreased, the number of blazes around the city had “escalated dramatically”. This was one of the consequences of urbanisation, Smith said.

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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