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DEVELOPING | No active firefighting taking place on Table Mountain, mop-up operations continue

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Mostert’s Mill, a familiar site to so many Capetonians, has been destroyed. The sail lies on the ground.
Mostert’s Mill, a familiar site to so many Capetonians, has been destroyed. The sail lies on the ground.
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22 April 07:28

There is no active firefighting taking place on Table Mountain following a wildfire that started on Sunday.

City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue spokesperson Jermaine Carelse confirmed that resources had been scaled back. There is a five-person crew monitoring the area, he said, along with staff from Working of Fire and Sanparks.

“[This number] might change during the course of the day if seasonal firefighters are deployed,” he added. Areas of the Northern Section of the Table Mountain National Park remain closed to the public.

- Nicole McCain

21 April 17:01

Working On Fire's Vredenburg team are performing mop up operations.

The Newlands and the Hotshot team based in Newlands are strategically placed in various locations to monitor for possible flare ups.

SANParks Table Mountain National Park said  Newlands Forest, Rhodes Memorial Area, Deer Park, and City Bowl in the Northern Section of Table Mountain remain closed in the interest of the safety of the public and also due to the sensitivity of the areas post-fire.

21 April 14:20

Cape Town wildfire contained, firefighters monitor flare-ups

Except for sporadic flare-ups, fire crews have largely contained the massive wildfire that engulfed the slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain and mop-up operations have started.

City of Cape Town officials described the blaze as one of the area's worst in years.

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21 April 13:09

UPDATE: The Jagger Reading Room at the University of Cape Town (UCT) was destroyed by the Table Mountain fire on Sunday.

 The team at UCT Libraries can confirm that the archival and published print collections kept within the Reading Room were consumed by the flames. The libraries team anticipates residual damage due to the flooding of the building and possible seepage into the various spaces and two basement stores.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said: “This was a sad day for UCT and UCT Libraries. This loss will be felt deeply across our community as the libraries are so critical to all of us. We cannot replace the treasures of scholarship we have lost, but we can create new treasures out of our own scholarship. In the same way, each of us can rebuild our own sense of purpose out of this tragedy. Our colleagues in the libraries have a long road ahead of them and many of us feel the devastation of the loss of this significant institutional asset but we will walk this road to rebuild our facilities together.”

The archival and published print collections kept within the Reading Room were consumed by the flames. These include the vast majority of the African Studies Published Print Collection (approximately 70 000 items), the entire African Studies Film Collection on DVD (approximately 3 500), all the UCT university calendars, some of the heavily used Government Publications documents from South Africa and across the continent, and manuscripts and archives kept in the Reading Room for processing or digitisation or awaiting transfer after being digitised.

- Marvin Charles

21 April 10:40

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

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."

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21 April 10:20

UPDATE: The University of Cape Town (UCT) is planning for the return of students to university accommodation now that the fire that affected large parts of the Rondebosch campus on Sunday,  is under control.

The fire resulted in the emergency evacuation of approximately 4 000 students. UCT has established a cross-divisional task team to coordinate the process of returning the students.

The first task has been to assess the condition of the campus in terms of health and safety. This process is under way.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said: "Once we have cleaned the residences approved in terms of occupational health and safety, the task team will provide and coordinate transport back to university residences for all students in emergency accommodation. We will make alternative arrangements for those residences deemed unsafe due to fire damage."


21 April 09:45

Sections of Table Mountain National Park remain closed to the public on Wednesday following a wildfire on the mountain.

The areas closed include Newlands Forest, Rhodes Memorial, Deer Park, and the City Bowl section.

In a statement, Sanpark said areas in the Northern Section of Table Mountain National Park remain closed "in the interest of the safety of the public and also due to the sensitivity of the areas post-fire".

"We understand that hikers, cyclists, and dog walkers are eager to get back into activity but at this stage, there are too many hazards including potential tree falls," the statement said.

- Nicole McCain

21 April 09:27

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

On Sunday morning, a fire started on Table Mountain in Cape Town.

It has since wreaked havoc on the area. With temperatures spiking to around 37 degrees Celsius, humidity at less than 10% and extremely strong winds on Monday, the mountain was engulfed in thick smoke and a convoy of helicopters dropped water on the flames as firefighters tried to hold the line.  

<p><strong>The Editors' Table | On the firebreak: Covering Cape Town's inferno</strong></p><p>On Sunday morning, a fire started on Table Mountain in Cape Town. </p><p>It has since wreaked havoc on the area.&nbsp;With temperatures spiking to around 37 degrees Celsius, humidity at less than 10% and extremely strong winds on Monday,&nbsp;the mountain was engulfed in thick smoke and a convoy of helicopters dropped water on the flames as firefighters tried to hold the line.&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong></strong></p><p><strong></strong></p>
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21 April 09:26

TAKE A LOOK: Satellite images reveal the destructive force of Cape Town’s wildfireJay Caboz 

As Capetonians were fleeing from their homes in the wake of Cape Town’s wildfire, satellites were capturing the destruction from space.

The fire, which started on the morning of Sunday 18 April, ripped along the iconic Table Mountain National Park, gutting buildings at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and forcing many to evacuate their homes. 

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21 April 08:56

A wildfire on Table Mountain has highlighted the value of partnerships, Sanparks CEO Fundisile Mketeni, as he praised firefighters for their efforts over the last three days.

"Without the collective efforts of the 125 TMNP rangers, the 170 fire and rescue workers, the South African National Defence Force, CoCT personnel, law enforcement and the many volunteers, the damage, as devastating as it was, could have been much worse," says Sanparks CEO Fundisile Mketeni.

"The immediacy of the reactions of fire-fighting teams from all areas of the Western Cape, their skill, courage and commitment ensured that the fire was mostly contained by Monday afternoon."

Sanparks estimates that the fire has destroyed 600 hectares of land in the park.

"We also thank our 120 rangers who manage and protect this vast area of more than 28 000 hectares, recognising the many challenges they face. To manage an urban park stretching from Signal Hill to Cape Point, we rely heavily on our communities to assist, alert and raise the alarm on disasters like this, which is exactly what happened on Sunday morning,” says Mketeni.

- Nicole McCain

21 April 08:04

The wildfire on Table Mountain has now been contained with only sporadic flare-ups in the Deer Park area, which pose no threat, confirmed City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue spokesperson Jermaine Carelse.

"The downscaling of resources started yesterday evening and only a few fire crews are currently monitoring the situation around the UCT, Philip Kgosana Drive and Deer Park areas.

"The monitoring operations will continue throughout the week," he said. All roads have been reopened.

- Nicole McCain

20 April 17:03

Cape Town animal welfare shelter on high alert after devastating mountain fire

A team from the Animal Welfare Society of SA (AWSSA) has been hard at work trying to rescue animals in desperate need of help after Cape Town's mountain fire.

The organisation activated its Emergency Disaster Risk Management Plan that includes the admission of a potential influx of animals in the event of a fire.

Speaking to News24, its resource development and communication officer, Allan Perrins, said the organisation had re-advertised its free offer of limited accommodation for those in a constrained environment.

READ HERE

20 April 16:53

The City of Cape Town's Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith tells News24, "There are less resources at the moment. We will be doing a assessment on the extent of the damage and that will take place during the course of the week."

20 April 16:45

City of Cape Town collecting footage to help figure out what sparked Table Mountain blaze

The City of Cape Town is collecting CCTV and other footage of the Table Mountain fire as part of its investigation into how it started, as damping down and fighting flare-ups continued on Tuesday. 

Community Safety MMC JP Smith said this would form part of the timeline of how and when the fire started, and the trajectory of events that followed. 

He said he doubted that the man arrested on a charge of arson was responsible for starting the main fire.

"I don't anticipate the person arrested having had much to do with the initial fire," said Smith during a briefing at the Roeland Street fire station in the CBD.

READ HERE

20 April 16:13

SANParks fire chief, Philip Prins tells News24 so far 650 hectares have been destroyed by the fire, "We have managed to contain the fire at 13:00 but its still too early to say. Our firefighters are still monitoring the situation and they will be monitoring it throughout the night. Anything can happen at this point, the fire is not extinguished its contained."
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