Sections of Devils Peak to reopen following runaway veld fire

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A firefighter surveys the flames from a distance in the Vredehoek area of Cape Town on 19 April 2021.
A firefighter surveys the flames from a distance in the Vredehoek area of Cape Town on 19 April 2021.
PHOTO: Luke Daniel/Business Insider
  • Sections of Devil's Peak are ready to be reopened to the public.
  • This comes after some rehabilitation work was completed, following a runaway fire in April.
  • The fire damaged around 600 hectares of the Table Mountain National Park.

Rehabilitation work has been completed on Devil's Peak after a devastating wildfire destroyed parts of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) in April.

TMNP park manager Frans van Rooyen said the work included the lower contour to the Blockhouse and Tafelberg jeep track erosion gullies, adding that "some areas are ready to be opened".

Sections of the park have been closed since the fire, which broke out on 18 April in the Rhodes Memorial area.

Fanned by strong winds, the blaze quickly spread across the mountain, engulfing the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Garden and spreading to UCT, where several historical buildings were destroyed.

READ | Rehabilitation efforts still ongoing following devastating Table Mountain fire

The blaze was contained after three days of firefighting. At the height of efforts to control it, more than 250 firefighters were deployed to the frontline and four helicopters were used, weather permitting.

Despite reopening sections of Newlands Forest to the public a week after the fire, several areas remain closed for the rehabilitation work.

Expected to take some time

Van Rooyen said work was in progress in the Woodstock, Oppelskop, Blockhouse contour path to Newlands, Plumb pudding, as well as in the Rhodes Memorial lower jeep track water bar areas.

He said:

We request users and visitors to these areas to continue exercising patience and allow the rehabilitation work to proceed without any obstructions.

The work is expected to take some time because more than 600 hectares of land was affected by the fire, Van Rooyen added.

"This is a big area, considering it took over three days to completely put the fire down."

WATCH | DOCUMENTARY: The Cape of flames - it takes just one spark to ignite a catastrophe

"The park will announce the reopening of certain areas later this month after we have engaged with our stakeholders. SANParks wishes to thank the members of the public for the ongoing support and will continue to provide updates on progress made as information becomes available. We would like to thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time," Van Rooyen said.

A report detailing the costs of the fire was expected to be released at the beginning of June, but will be made public in the following weeks, Van Rooyen added.

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