Firefighters praised for their ongoing heroics in Simon’s Town blaze

Firefighters remain on scene at a fire in the Simon’s Town area. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

Firefighters remain on scene at a fire in the Simon’s Town area. Picture: Armand Hough/Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 22, 2023


Cape Town - Hundreds of firefighters, volunteers and members of the public and corporates have been lauded for coming together to respond to a blaze that has ripped through the mountain slopes of Simon’s Town since this week.

By Friday morning, the fire, which broke out on Tuesday morning, was yet to be contained.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Services said no property was damaged overnight and there were no further injuries reported.

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) said yesterday the wildfire had burnt approximately 1140 hectares of land across private, public works, and TMNP properties.

The firefighting team comprised SANParks, NCC Environmental Services (Pty) Ltd, City of Cape Town, Working on Fire, Volunteers Wildfire Services, South African National Defence Force, and the Disaster Risk Management Centre among others.

Approximately 80 day shift firefighters, aerial resources, and management staff were on duty yesterday.

An additional 60 firefighters would replace the day shift crew overnight.

On Wednesday, five firefighters were injured and two were transported to the hospital. The two firefighters have since been discharged and the other three remained on the frontlines, Carelse said. The injuries included smoke inhalation, an eye injury, a twisted ankle and a leg injury.

TMNP said: “We’d like to extend our gratitude to Cape Town residents and businesses for their generosity in providing food, drinks, and other essentials to support the firefighters.

“Sincere thanks to the firefighters for their bravery and dedication.”

Working on Fire water-bombing the slopes above Millers Point. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Disaster Risk Management Centre spokesperson Charlotte Powell said most residents who had been evacuated had returned to their homes.

“Since the fire started, approximately 30 to 40 households were informed to evacuate as a precautionary measure,” Powell said.

In an update provided at 11am, ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock said the fire continued to burn on the mountain in two general areas: the False Bay side south of Simon’s Town and the Atlantic side north of the Cape Point section of the TMNP, south of Red Hill and east of Plateau Road.

“The only property at risk is basically the houses at Castle Rock and the house at Bluegums, which is sort of isolated down there. Otherwise the fire is going to burn itself back to above Miller’s Point where it burnt last night, so it will go out.

“Then, above Murdock Valley south, which is the southern portion of Simon’s Town, it was burning in the mountains above there and that’s also slowing down. The only houses at risk there are the houses in Murdock Valley north, south, and Froggy Farm. The bigger issue is that it’s burning on the Plateau road side that’s on the Atlantic side, also on the mountains high up fanned by quite a strong south-easter.”

He said the fire was making its way towards Red Hill.

At around 1pm, Working on Fire said the windy conditions posed a challenge, especially on the left flank near the ostrich farm near Smitswinkels Bay, and choppers were water bombing flames in that area.

At the time, there was no predicted threat to Froggy Farm or the Simon’s Town residential area, Working on Fire said.

At 2.30pm, three aerial support craft were water bombing the area. Crews were fighting the fire near Miller’s Point, Castle Rock, Rocklands farm, Dorian and Victory Road.

On Friday morning, Powell provided an update which said that overnight, approximately 97 households in Stonehaven Estate were evacuated.

Some residents of Scarborough were also evacuated, although most of the evacuees were able to leave the area without assistance.

“The Disaster Management Centre also activated animal welfare groups to assist with the evacuation of animals, to TEARS in Ocean View and the SPCA in Grassy Park.

“At the moment, no further evacuations are necessary, but we are monitoring the situation closely,” Powell said.

“The DRMC reminds residents in the fire-affected areas to please keep their doors and windows closed to mitigate the risk of smoke exposure.

“We are still receiving many calls about donations and refreshments for staff on the fire line – the donation drop off point has moved to the Simon’s Town Hall in Main Road, next to the police station.”

[email protected]