Cape Town fire: Residents start returning home, mop-up operations continue

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A man sprays water on the roof of his house as fire-fighting teams work about 100m away to keep the fire from crossing Philip Kgosana Drive.
A man sprays water on the roof of his house as fire-fighting teams work about 100m away to keep the fire from crossing Philip Kgosana Drive.
Rodger Bosch
  • Cape Town firefighters will keep a close eye on any possible flare-ups over the next few days.
  • Eleven structures were damaged or destroyed.
  • Nine civilians were taken to hospital and six firefighters sustained injuries.

A devastating veldfire on the slopes of Table Mountain has destroyed 650 hectares – and firefighters will be on standby throughout the night to prevent any flare-ups.

SANParks fire chief, Philip Prins, said: "More than 150 firefighters from Table Mountain National Park/contract wildfire crews (NCC Wildfires), Working on Fire, Volunteer Wildfire Services and City of Cape Town were deployed on the fire line, with assistance from five aerial support helicopters that began suppressing the fire in the City Bowl area from 07:00 on Tuesday morning.

"Firefighters will remain on the scene to secure the areas burnt, and continue with mop-up operations. The teams worked hard and will remain on-site to ensure the area's safety, monitoring any possible flare-ups for the next coming days. We are not yet out of the woods."

ROLLING COVERAGE | Cape Town fire destroys 650ha, blaze 'contained, but not extinguished'

Overnight, the wind dropped significantly, and helicopters have been waterbombing the fire lines since early on Tuesday morning.

Residents, who were evacuated in areas close to the mountain, have been informed that they can return home.

Firefighters manage to contain blaze
Firefighters managed to contain a massive blaze on the mountain in Cape Town.
Facebook SANParks Table Mountain National Park
150 firefighters battled a massive blaze for the l
150 firefighters battled a massive blaze for the last three days on the mountain slopes in Cape Town.
Facebook SANParks Table Mountain National Park
Massive fire destroyed 650 hectares of mountain slope
SANParks says the massive fire that engulfed the mountain slopes destroyed 650 hectares.
Facebook SANParks Table Mountain National Park
Aerial shot of the extent of the fire damage
Aerial shot of the extent of the damage caused by a massive blaze in Cape Town.
Facebook SANParks Table Mountain National Park

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said: 

Our first priority remains fully extinguishing all of the fire lines. Over the next few days, firefighters will continue to dampen down the affected areas and monitor for flare-ups until we are one hundred percent sure the fire is out.

"Damage assessments will be done once the fire has been extinguished. The investigation into the cause of the fire will be conducted thereafter."

The latest damage report:

 - 2 houses in the Rosebank area;

 - 6 education buildings on the University of Cape Town campus;

 - 2 heritage buildings, including the Mostert's Mill and UCT Jagger Library; and

 - 1 restaurant at Rhodes Memorial.

Nine civilians were taken to hospital, suffering from breathing challenges due to smoke inhalation, and six firefighters sustained injuries.

The Editors' Table | On the firebreak: Covering Cape Town's inferno

MEC for Safety and Security JP Smith said: "We can at this stage say the fire is contained, we have fewer resources used on the fire. Our next mission will be to initiate a risk assessment to establish the cost of the damage."



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