Cape Town counts cost of Devil's Peak blaze

The fire on Devil’s Peak above Cape Town was largely contained and “not looking too bad”, Table Mountain National Park fire chief Philip Prins said just before 10am on Wednesday.

Park, volunteer and city firefighters battled through the night after the blaze broke out in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial at about 8pm on Tuesday.

“At this stage everything is quiet. We’ve got most of it contained,” Prins said.

“We do get flare-ups every now and then, especially in the area of Groote Schuur estate above De Waal drive.

“But overall it’s not looking too bad.”

However he said things could change dramatically if the wind picked up.

“In 2001 we had it under control.
Then the south-easter stood up, and the whole of Devil’s Peak was alight again.”

Prins said about 300 hectares of parkland had been burned. Four helicopters, including an Oryx from the South African Defence Force, were water-bombing the fire, which had climbed along the ridge of Devil’s Peak.

One of the choppers was about to lift a team of firefighters on to the Saddle between Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain.

Prins said the few black wildebeest still in the game enclosure alongside Rhodes memorial, plus a handful of zebras, were “fine” at the moment.

Earlier, Cape Town’s disaster management services said two vagrants who sustained third degree burns had been hospitalised.

Greg Pillay, head of the disaster risk management centre, said five firefighters sustained minor injuries including a fractured finger and sprained ankle.

He said 60 people were evacuated from their homes in suburbs immediately below the mountain during the night, but had since been told they could return to their homes.

No property had been damaged.

De Waal Drive, one of the main routes into the city bowl from the southern suburbs, had been closed to traffic and would stay shut for
most of the day, he said. - Sapa