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Table Mountain National Park ready to reopen some areas after Rhodes Memorial fire

Several of the areas in the Table Mountain National Park that were affected by April’s devastating Rhodes Memorial fire at Devil’s Peak will soon be open to the public. 

Table Mountain National Park is expected to announce the reopening of certain areas later this month after engagements with stakeholders. 

“The rehabilitation work has been successfully concluded at Devils Peak lower contour to Blockhouse and Tafelberg Jeep track erosion gullies … this means some areas are ready to be opened,” said park manager Frans van Rooyen on Thursday. 

Rehabilitation work in areas such as Woodstock, Oppelskop and the Blockhouse contour path leading towards Newlands is still progressing. The rehabilitation is expected to take time, because more than 600 hectares of land was affected. 

Van Rooyen said that the independent investigation into the cause of the fire “will be made public in the coming weeks”.

Table Mountain National Park initially said it was believed that the blaze originated with a vagrant’s fire that spread and was fuelled by temperatures of more than 30°C, debris and old pine trees. Police arrested a man on charges of arson on the same day the fire started, prompting an investigation. 

The Mail & Guardian reported last week the investigation into the fire has been completed and, according to South African National Parks, was due to be released “within the next 10 working days”. 

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a junior daily news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a freelance journalist and a broadcaster at Maroela Media and Smile90.4FM.

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