A resident looks out over Chapmans Peak as a fire continues to burn across the South Peninsula mountains. Picture: Nic Bothma
A resident looks out over Chapmans Peak as a fire continues to burn across the South Peninsula mountains. Picture: Nic Bothma

Cape fire: light rain brings relief

By African News Agency Time of article published Mar 4, 2015

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Cape Town - Light rain on Wednesday brought much-needed respite for crews battling the raging fires in the South Peninsula area of Cape Town.

Rain started falling mid-morning on Wednesday, helping to damp down areas which had been badly affected by the blaze which began on Sunday night on Boyes Drive above Muizenberg.

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith, said firefighting efforts were focused on the hotspot areas of Lower Constantia Nek and the upper Tokai area, Clovelly, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Hout Bay and Noordhoek.

“A total of six helicopters are water-bombing hotspots, including two paid for by the City of Cape Town, two from Table Mountain National Park and two Oryx helicopters from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF),” he said.

“Working on Fire sourced an additional 150 staff members who have been deployed with other ground crews.”

There have been conflicting reports about the number of properties damaged. The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service staff was due to conduct site visits to all locations where damage was reported to clarify the situation. More than 500 residents had been evacuated from various areas since the fire started, but most had returned to their homes.

Boyes Drive, Chapman’s Peak Drive, and Clovelly Road remained closed to traffic, as well as Price Road and Schoenstatt (Groot Constantia) and Ou Wingerd Road.

‘We would like to thank the public for so generously donating to the firefighting cause by providing food and drink to the staff on duty. However, we have been overrun with donations and I would therefore kindly request that the public refrain from making further donations. We will communicate any further needs as they occur,” Smith said.

“I would also like to appeal to the public to please steer clear of the affected areas. I realise that there is massive spectator value, but not when it impacts on the fire crews trying to do their job or jeopardises the public’s safety. I would also like to remind motorists that pulling over along the highways to watch the fire is dangerous, and also illegal and I urge them to refrain from doing so.”

The city also appealed to residents in low-lying areas who were not impacted by the fires to use water sparingly to allow the reservoirs serving those areas to maintain manageable operating levels. This would ensure the effective supply of water to emergency services teams.


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