TMNP concerned over ‘unsettling trend’ of fires being caused by resident vagrants

Fire-fighters tries to put out a blaze on Signal Hill. l LEON LESTRADE/FILE

Fire-fighters tries to put out a blaze on Signal Hill. l LEON LESTRADE/FILE

Published Dec 8, 2023


Cape Town – In the period between November 1, 2023 to yesterday (December 8), Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has witnessed a surge in fire incidents, with a total of 34 fires being responded to, 23 of which occurred between November and early December.

An alarming trend has emerged, showcasing a concentration of incidents primarily within the Signal Hill area, marking it as the current hot spot for these occurrences.

Rapid response and containment remain key strengths of fire-fighting efforts of authorities, with an impressive 97% of fires being contained within the first 90 minutes of deployment.

However, an unsettling trend arises regarding the cause of these fires, as the majority are attributed to vagrants.

The correlation between these incidents and specific days of the week has been ruled out due to the primary cause being vagrancy.

Acknowledging this trend, fire-fighting chiefs contracted crews from NCC Wildfires and the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS), who are operating at full capacity for the season.

The NCC wildfires and VWS crews remain on standby throughout the season, ready for immediate deployment upon activation, ensuring an effective response to any emergent situations.

TMNP Integrated Fire Manager, Justin Buchmann, said: "We extend our congratulations to VWS for hosting a successful open day at Newlands over the past weekend, drawing an encouraging attendance of approximately 3 255 individuals and families.

“It is fantastic to see the public support volunteerism and the role they can play in helping the various authorities, in this case Integrated Wildfire Management, given the fire prone environment surrounding the Cape Metropole,” Buchmann said.

“It is through the public supporting these initiatives that volunteer groups can play such a big supporting role in our response to fires on the Wildland Urban interface and just as importantly educate and inform the youth of potential fire risks."

Cape Argus

Related Topics: