Residents in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town have been advised to avoid the area surrounding the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a wildfire rages on. Picture: Working on Fire/Twitter
Residents in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town have been advised to avoid the area surrounding the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a wildfire rages on. Picture: Working on Fire/Twitter

Rhodes Memorial wildfire: Capetonians urged to avoid UCT area as firefighters tackle blaze

By Theolin Tembo Time of article published Apr 18, 2021

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Cape Town - Residents in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town have been advised to avoid the area surrounding the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a wildfire rages on.

MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, said that the wildfire is raging on the slopes of Table Mountain and remains out of control at the moment.

“Sections of the M3 has been closed to traffic. SANParks has urged all hikers within the Newlands and Rhodes Memorial areas have been urged to evacuate the mountain with immediate effect.

“Residents of the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town are advised to take note of the heavy smoke and soot in the area and to seek medical attention if breathing becomes difficult,” Bredell said.

Firefighting resources were deployed early this morning to tackle the fire.

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said that they were alerted to the vegetation fire above Philip Kgosana Drive at about 8.45am on Monday morning.

“Fire crews were immediately dispatched to the scene, with the fire currently spreading from Rhodes Memorial toward UCT. A section of the tea room at Rhodes Memorial has been destroyed and people are urged not to enter the area.

“More resources are currently on their way to assist firefighting efforts. These include teams from Working on Fire and Table Mountain National Park,” he said.

The resources include multiple aircraft including four helicopters doing water bombings with a spotter plane in support.

Bredell said that the situation is currently serious with the wildfire spreading towards sections of the UCT upper campus.

“The public is urged to avoid the area and allow the authorities to do their work. The wind is slowly picking up which is a cause for concern. The City of Cape Town fire fighting service as well as teams from SANParks and Working on Fire are on the scene already.”

Bredell says the authorities on the ground will inform all members of the public immediately should the situation get more serious.

Residents in the vicinity of the fire are advised to take some precautionary steps including:

  • Remain Hydrated.
  • Keep windows and doors closed until further notice as protection against smoke and heat.
  • Keep pets indoors where possible.
  • Move garden furniture that is flammable under cover where possible.
  • If the situation gets worse, residents will be alerted timeously.
  • In the event of an emergency please contact:

City of Cape Town Emergency Services Landline – 021 480 7700. Cell phone – 107. Provincial Emergency Number – 112

Meanwhile, UCT SRC chairperson Declan Dyer said the priority now was to evacuate students, and get them to a safe place, where they could consolidate and sort out any additional off-campus residences to accommodate those who were evacuated.

Students were seen walking the streets of Observatory with their luggage and belongings on Sunday afternoon.

Cape Argus

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