Wildfires ravage Cape Peninsula

4 March 2015

The fires in the Cape, which started on Sunday night, have destroyed more than 4 000 hectares of vegetation so far, the City of Cape Town said in a statement on Wednesday.

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service, along with various other agencies, were continuing to “actively manage” the fire in the South Peninsula.

Silvermine after the fire. Image by Andrea Nixon
Devastation: Silvermine Nature Reserve on 3 March 2015. (Image: Andy Nix/Facebook)

On Tuesday night, fire fighters worked to contain the fire in Constantia Berg, Tokai and Tierbos Kloof as well as the upper reaches of Tokai Forest, Muizenberg, Clovelly and Noordhoek.

Fire crews worked through the night, water-bombing danger zones and evacuating people at risk.

The City of Cape Town said the hot and dry weather and the wind picking up contributed significantly to the flare up. It hoped that the light rain forecast over the region on Wednesday will bring some relief.

“It has been an incredibly hot and challenging day for fire crews, but they have done an exceptional job under the circumstances and will remain on the frontlines for as long as it takes to suppress this fire,” said Alderman Smith, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

With a temperature of 42°C, Tuesday was the hottest day recorded in the City in over 100 years.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Service, Disaster Risk Management and Environmental Resource Management staff and volunteers, along with Table Mountain National Park, Working On Fire volunteers, Wild Land Fire Services and Volunteer Wildfire Services are involved in the fire fighting effort.

All off-duty personnel and fire fighters from the Free State and Eastern Cape had been called up to assist.

Cape Town wildfires: fact sheet

The City of Cape Town has shared the following facts about the latest fires on its website:

  • The fire started in the early hours of Sunday, 1 March 2015 above Boyes Drive in Muizenberg and spread over an extensive area including Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay and Tokai as a result of strong winds.
  • The City’s Fire and Rescue Service, Disaster Risk Management and Environmental Resource Management staff and volunteers, Table Mountain National Park, Working On Fire volunteers, Wild Land Fire Services and the Volunteer Wildfire Services are involved in the firefighting effort.
  • By Wednesday, one firefighter had sustained burn wounds and is in hospital; 52 frail-care residents of a Noordhoek retirement village had been treated for smoke inhalation.
  • Five homes have been damaged along Silvermine Road in Noordhoek. The Tintswalo Lodge at the foot of Chapman’s Peak was damaged as well.
  • At least 30 households were evacuated in Noordhoek, as well as residents of the San Michelle Old-Age Home and the Noordhoek Manor Retirement Village. Residents at the latter have since been able to return home.
  • Three mass care centres have been set up to accommodate those who have been displaced: at the Dutch Reformed Church in Kommetjie Road, Fish Hoek; at the Dutch Reformed campsite in Noordhoek; and at the Fish Hoek Community Hall.
  • Members of the public in affected areas are advised to hose down thatched roofs, keep all windows closed.
  • Call the City’s 107 Public Emergency Call Centre in the event of an emergency. Dial 107 from a landline and 021 480 7700 from a cellphone.

SAinfo reporter