Western Cape authorities say they hope the fire that has spread through several areas of Cape Town, including the campus of the University of Cape Town, will be brought under control overnight. Students from the campus have been evacuated.
Firefighting teams have been on the ground battling the runaway blaze since this morning.
Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department spokesperson James-Brent Styan says, “So, it’s not contained yet and there are multiple fire lines, which need attention. It’s getting dark now. So, time is not on our side but the guys remain on the ground. Fresh teams will be coming in as well to assist those tired bodies that have been there from about 8h30 to 8h45 this morning when this fire was first reported. We have to wait and see how it goes this evening, but I’m hoping that things might be getting under control during the night.”
The blaze started on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and has damaged private houses and destroyed the historic Mostert’s Mill in Mowbray and a tea room at the Rhodes Memorial.
At least 150 firefighters and four helicopters are battling the fire.
Two firefighters have sustained burn wounds and have been transported to hospital for treatment.
SABC reporter Corbin August, who is at the UCT campus, says, “We are currently standing on Upper Campus, here at the University of Cape Town and at the moment what we’re seeing is firefighters battling to put out the flames. They’re busy dousing the flames. The firefighting team, with fire engines and helicopters, have been water-bombing the fire trying to bring the blaze under control. At this stage, the major concern at the university is that there are some very flammable, explosive chemicals in some of the buildings and this is an additional danger that firefighters are now having to contend with.”
Battle to contain Cape Town blaze continues:
Earlier, SANParks Table Mountain National Park requested hikers to immediately evacuate the area. Residents of the Southern Suburbs were advised to take note of the heavy smoke and soot in the area and to seek medical attention if breathing becomes difficult.
Firefighting resources were deployed to the area early this morning.
Western Cape Environmental Affairs Department spokesperson James-Brent Styan says, “The public is urged to avoid the area and allow the authorities to do their work. The wind is slowly picking up which is a cause for concern. The City of Cape Town firefighting service as well as teams from SANparks and Working on Fire are on the scene already. People in the area are advised to close their windows, remain hydrated to keep indoors as much as possible, keep pets indoors.”