Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Cape Town scales back ‘Herculean’ firefighting efforts

The firefighting efforts in the South Peninsula have been scaled back, the City of Cape Town said on Thursday.

“Firefighters are continuing to monitor hotspots for flare-ups in the South Peninsula this morning,” mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement.

“Currently, 10 ground crews continue to manage the situation in Constantia. A few ground crews are also on duty in Clovelly and along Boyes Drive, between Lakeside and Kalk Bay.”

He said a stop/go system was in place on Boyes Drive. However, Chapman’s Peak Drive remained closed because it was “unsafe” for road users.

The fire started on Sunday and was contained but – fanned by strong winds – it flared up again just after 2am on Monday in Muizenberg, above Boyes Drive.

It then spread to Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay, and Tokai.

Smith said the city’s fire safety division confirmed on Wednesday that 13 properties had been affected by the fire. These included the Tintswalo Lodge at the foot of Chapman’s Peak.

Three of the properties – two in Constantia and one in Noordhoek – have been completely destroyed.

A Herculean effort
“The City of Cape Town firefighter who sustained burn wounds to his hands and face on Monday is recovering in hospital and should be discharged tomorrow to recuperate further at home,” said Smith.

He said another firefighter twisted his ankle, while a volunteer from Working on Fire broke her arm.

“I want to wish these staff members a speedy recovery and thank them and their colleagues for what has been a truly Herculean effort – from those staff members on the frontlines to staff behind the scenes, coordinating resources and helping us communicate with the public.

“Also, we’re enormously grateful to the residents of Cape Town for their support and encouragement, as well as the volunteers who signed up in their numbers to help out,” said Smith.

He said during the next few days mopping up activities and an assessment of the total damages and cost of the operations would be done.

Forensic investigators would also determine, where possible, the cause of the fires.

Aftermath
By Wednesday, a total of 500 people had been evacuated since the fire began. Fifty two frail care residents from a Noordhoek retirement village were treated for smoke inhalation.

More than 2 000 people helped to quell the fire on Wednesday, the environmental affairs department said at the time. About two million litres of water had been dumped on the fire.

However, the helicopters used to water bomb the flames had to stand down because of the smoke and the weather.

A total of 26 aircraft had been in the air since Sunday, Nqayi said. The 198 hours already flown cost an estimated R2-million. – Sapa

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Local elections: Water tops the agenda in Limpopo’s dry villages

People in the Fetakgomo Tubatse local municipality, who have to collect water from Motse River, are backing independent candidates because they’re tired of parties’ election promises

Careers the Zondo state capture inquiry has ended (or not)

From Vincent Smith to Gwede Mantashe, those named and shamed have met with differing fates

More top stories

Nigeria’s palm wine tappers face stiff competition

Large companies such as International Breweries and Nigerian Breweries are vying for the population’s drinking money

Covid-19 border closures hit Zimbabwe’s women traders hard

The past 18 months have been tough for women cross-border traders, who saw their income vanish when borders closed

Local elections: Water tops the agenda in Limpopo’s dry villages

People in the Fetakgomo Tubatse local municipality, who have to collect water from Motse River, are backing independent candidates because they’re tired of parties’ election promises

A bigger slice of the pie: Retailers find ways to...

The South African informal economy market is much sought-after, with the big, formal-sector supermarkets all looking to grow their share
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×