Devil's Peak blaze 'contained'

The fire on Devil’s Peak above Cape Town was “more or less contained”, but would keep firefighters busy for the next couple of days, Table Mountain National Park fire chief Philip Prins said on Wednesday afternoon.

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.

Scores of residents of suburban homes bordering the park were evacuated during the night as a precautionary measure, but later allowed to return.

Several roads were closed due to thick smoke.

A homeless man rescued from the flames was in a critical condition in Groote Schuur hospital, the Western Cape health department said.

Prins said mid-morning on Wednesday the fire was “not looking too bad”.

“It still is more or less contained,” he said on Wednesday afternoon. “So far the perimeters are more or less safe.”

There was no real threat to homes.

“But if the wind picks up it’s a completely different story,” he said.

Helicopters would continue water-bombing a high ridge on the flank of the peak, and there was still a lot of smoke in the area of lower Groote Schuur estate.

Prins said about 500ha of park land had been burned: some fynbos, some renosterveld, some grass, and stands of pine trees.

Four helicopters, including a defence force Oryx, were called in at dawn to water-bomb the fire, and to lift a team of firefighters high on to the mountain.

Prins said the few black wildebeest still in the game enclosure below Rhodes Memorial, plus a handful of zebras, were “fine”.

Greg Pillay, head of the City of Cape Town’s disaster risk management centre, said five firefighters sustained minor injuries including a fractured finger and sprained ankle.—Sapa

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