Cape Town fire 'largely contained'

Wind drops, giving firefighting crews a better chance of dousing the blaze

Claire Keeton Senior features writer
Firefighters have been working since Sunday morning to extinguish the runaway fire that engulfed Rhodes Memorial and UCT's library, and by Tuesday morning it was "largely contained"
Firefighters have been working since Sunday morning to extinguish the runaway fire that engulfed Rhodes Memorial and UCT's library, and by Tuesday morning it was "largely contained"
Image: Ruvan Boshoff

Early Tuesday morning the blaring of fire engine sirens and sound of choppers in the sky were heard in Cape Town, as fresh crews were deployed to fight the wildfire on Table Mountain, which is “largely contained” on its third consecutive day, according to the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services.

Spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said at 7am: “Three days since the start of the devastating Rhodes Memorial blaze, the fire has been largely contained with firefighting efforts now focused on Deer Park and the Disa Park towers in Vredehoek.

“Crews have worked tirelessly and the wind having died down considerably, has given them some respite.”

A ferocious southeaster on Monday, gusting up to 50km per hour, fanned the flames and flare ups across the slopes of Devil’s Peak and preventing aerial crews from damping down the fires.

“Fresh crews and seasonal firefighters will be deployed to those hotspot areas at 9am today,” Carelse said. “There are two Oryx chopper available if need be.”

Overnight the fire leapt high on the night skyline, raising fears among residents that it was out of control and further evacuations on the urban edge would be needed.

On Tuesday residents were evacuated from the fire’s edge in Vredehoek, while further along residents of University Estate banded together to prevent the fire encroaching after it leapt across the freeway in the morning.

UCT’s precious Jagger Library and its reading room were burnt down on Sunday and students evacuated, the oldest mill in Cape Town was destroyed and hundreds of hectares have been razed by fire which started on Sunday morning.

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