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Suspect held after Cape Town's first all female fire crew help contain Noordhoek blaze

The all-female crew from NCC Wildfires. Picture: Facebook / Charl Steenkamp

The all-female crew from NCC Wildfires. Picture: Facebook / Charl Steenkamp

Published Jan 28, 2020

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Cape Town – The city's first all-female crew, from NCC Wildfires, were among the more than 150 firefighters that helped to contain the devastating blaze in the Noordhoek wetlands yesterday.

The fires started on Sunday and were extinguished by 7pm yesterday, with NCC Wildfires and Working on Fire among the volunteer service crews assisting in tackling the blaze.

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Table Mountain National Park fire manager Philip Prins told Cape Talk the fires were started deliberately. The City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Service has arrested a man suspected of arson.

No damage to property or injuries have yet been reported, Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said on Tuesday, but the fire had at one stage advanced towards residential areas, with three helicopters and a spotter being deployed.

Had the blaze reach Chapman's Peak, Carelse said, it would have put the firefighters at risk.

It's not the first time fires have been deliberately ignited in the Noordhoek wetlands, Prins said.

Firefighters will remain on the scene and monitor the situation at least until Wednesday.

In December, the all-female crew, comprising 15 women, graduated from a special programme established by a local academy and NCC Environmental Services.

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"At around 03:30, the SANParks - Table Mountain National Park NCC Newlands Crews were mobilised to a wildfire above Kommetjie Vineyards. 

"Crew rotations took place throughout the morning and our All-Women Wildfire Crew (Juliet Crew), led by Kylie Paul, got onto a fire line for the very first time. They undertook extensive mopping up on the fire line.

"They performed exemplary and will take a lot away from what they learnt today," NCC Wildfires posted on Facebook.

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