DANGER: Strong winds led to the spread of a fire in Oudekraal between Bakoven and Llandudno, making it necessary for the fire management team of Table Mountain National Park to request reinforcements. Picture: Ross Jansen
DANGER: Strong winds led to the spread of a fire in Oudekraal between Bakoven and Llandudno, making it necessary for the fire management team of Table Mountain National Park to request reinforcements. Picture: Ross Jansen

#OudekraalFire: 'Fires contained at huge financial cost’

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Oct 16, 2017

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Cape Town - Recent fires that ravaged more than 900 hectares of vegetation in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) were contained at huge financial cost.

The veld fire started four days ago at private property in Oudekraal, said Philip Prins, TMNP fire manager.

“Windy conditions led to the rapid spread of the fire, which started on Wednesday afternoon. Crews had been battling with gusting winds of up to 70km/* . The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa was evacuated and some roads had to be closed.

“On Sunday the fire was contained on the slopes of Table Mountain as rainfall assisted firefighters. The cause of the fire is still being investigated. We do not know the total cost yet, but can confirm the fire was contained at huge financial cost as many resources were needed to battle it,” said Prins.

Fire-fighting teams from Working on Fire, Table Mountain National Park, NCC Environmental Services and volunteer fire services continued with mop-up operations of the burnt areas.

The City’s Fire and Rescue spokesperson, Edward Bosch, said firefighters would patrol the area throughout the day for possible flare-ups.

“The City’s Fire and Rescue service released all its resources from the Hout Bay area. About 100 national park members will remain on scene for a short while to ensure safety and that the area remains under control.”

Prins said the focus was on the Orange Kloof section, as well as areas burning high up on the mountain peaks.

“At this stage it’s difficult to say how much flame is left as we had some good rain over the area.”

Meanwhile, families have been reminded of the importance of being ready for disasters, as the City experiences “extreme weather episodes”.

The City has developed family preparedness guidelines as well as guidelines for people living with a disability.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the guidelines included information that may seem obvious, but “is more than likely not a priority for many people”.

“These are important conversations to have in the family circle. As potentially depressing as it might be, it trumps the alternative of being caught off guard in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.”

He made reference to extreme weather episodes in parts of the country “that have left a trail of devastation”.

Last week storms in Johannesburg and Durban wreaked havoc as hail and heavy rains lashed the cities, and fires destroyed vegetation on the slopes of Table Mountain.

“Elsewhere, hurricanes, earthquakes, runaway wildfires and volcanic eruptions have made headlines,” Smith said.

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Cape Argus

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