Western Cape fire crews on high alert for Table Mountain flare-ups

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Firefighters battle a raging fire in  Vredehoek in gale force winds and heavy smoke.
Firefighters battle a raging fire in Vredehoek in gale force winds and heavy smoke.
Gallo Images/Brenton Geach
  • Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato, University of Cape Town (UCT) Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, and Local Government and Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell conducted a site visit at UCT to assess the damage caused by a runaway mountain fire.
  • Table Mountain National Park says it hopes to extinguish the fire by the end of the week
  • The City’s Air Quality Monitoring Unit said it has recorded very high levels of particulate at the Foreshore Monitoring Station. 

Fire Fighters in Cape Town remain on high alert on Monday evening as fears of possible flare-ups of the devastating wildfire grow.

The Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) said firefighters will be on standby throughout the night in case of any eventuality.

"We would like to clarify that the fire is contained, but we are not out of the woods yet. We are dealing with severe winds that could ignite the flames. That’s why our crews must stand by for anything," TMNP fire manager Philip Prins said.

Prins added that although some of the vegetation fire has been extinguished, the roots of the vegetation still remains a high risk as it could ignite and cause flare-ups.

Prins stressed that it does not look like the fire will be extinguished immediately. "It will take some time. We are hoping to extinguish the fire by the end of the week," he added.

ROLLING COVERAGE | Flare-ups on Philip Kgosana Drive being monitored, evacuated residents should not return home

By late Monday afternoon the City of Cape Town reported that it was monitoring flare-ups along Philip Kgosana Drive and Tafelberg Drive, this as the fire was heading towards Bluegum Forest.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato, UCT Vice-Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng, and Local Government and Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell conducted a site visit to assess the damage caused by the fire at UCT. 

The university said the risk assessment of the damage caused by the blaze was already underway.

"It was not an easy task to evacuate the 4 000 students from the residences. We did think that by Wednesday, all campus activity will be able to continue, but at this stage, it is not possible,” Phakeng said. 

READ | It was 'apocalyptic, like a scene from a movie' - UCT students traumatised after fire, evacuation

Winde said it was devastating to hear of the loss of major heritage sites including UCT’s African studies library, Rhodes Memorial Park’s restaurant, and Mostert’s Mill, along with vast tracts of land.

"Through the Western Cape government and City of Cape Town’s coordinated response, we have been able to salvage large parts of the mountain and University,” he added.

READ | Cape Town fires: Here's where and what to donate

Meanwhile, a thick dark cloud of smoke continues to hang over the Mother City, causing concern for authorities.

The City’s Air Quality Monitoring Unit said it had recorded very high levels of particulate at its Foreshore Monitoring Station.

The City advised residents with asthma and other sensitive respiratory conditions to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed. 

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