At least five firefighters from the more than 300 who are battling a persistent wildfire in Simon’s Town have been injured, with two taken to hospital.
Firefighting crews from various organisations working in the city have been on the ground since Tuesday when the blaze began on the slopes of the mountain and was fanned by wind.
A single derelict building was damaged on the grounds of the SA Navy and authorities said further precautionary evacuations were conducted on Wednesday. This included residents from Simonskloof and Harbour Heights, and crews had to make their way to the area near the Black Marlin Restaurant as the fire was approaching the property.
Roads leading to Cape Point and Simon’s Town were inaccessible as the fire spread further down Miller’s Point, Rocklands, and Plateau Road.
“Additional resources have been requested to site, taking into account that wind gusts have been forecast for later, and overnight. The Incident Management Team has laid out specific tactics to minimise any further spread of the fire. This is a multi-organisational operation, with various agencies working together to get this fire under control. Three helicopters are currently airborne to assist with water-bombing,” City Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said.
According to Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith, since the beginning of December, the fire service responded to more than 2 500 incidents including fires and special service calls such as motor vehicle accidents and trauma cases.
Of these, 1 500 have been vegetation fires.
“It’s also an increase year on year, where the corresponding period had just over 2 000 fires, with nearly 1 100 of these being vegetation fires. Each incident, whether a vegetation fire or a structural fire, comes with its own complexities and the City remains committed to serving communities across the metropole. I want to commend our firefighters for being on the front lines to defend lives and property in spite of the many challenges.
“These firefighters, swollen eyes, are exhausted and trying to catch some sleep, but ready to jump up and spring back into action if the need arises. They are sleeping in front of the houses that may need their protection again,” said Smith.
He said the cause of the fire in Simon’s Town was not yet known.
Meanwhile, the Disaster Risk Management Centre (DRMC) has advised non-residents to steer clear of the greater Simon’s Town area.
“Some more precautionary evacuations have been done this afternoon and DRMC staff are also checking various parking areas along the coastal road to direct members of the public out of the area. The City’s traffic service is implementing road closures as the situation demands.
“The City also reminds the public to please not drop refreshments on the fire line, but to rather drop any donations they’d like to make at the Simon’s Town Fire Station on Long Beach Road. Donations can include energy drinks, energy sweets, water, chocolates, cooldrinks, eye drops and non-perishable items,” spokesperson Charlotte Powell said.
Local residents including the Simon’s Town Business Association have been assisting with sandwiches and other food items.