Cape fire: similar inferno in 2000
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Cape Town - The fire sweeping the South Peninsula mountains is a strong reminder of the inferno which swept through similar areas in 2000, says Table Mountain National Park incident commander Philip Prins.
That fire started along Ou Kaapse Weg on Sunday, January 16, 2000.
Hot, windy conditions had dried out vegetation in the mountains. The fire spread quickly from the Silvermine area down the slopes into the reserve, destroying the pines. By mid-afternoon, it reached the saddle next to Constantiaberg.
Within less than an hour it had travelled 1 000m and reached the first houses in Hout Bay.
By the end of the day most of the upper areas of Hout Bay had been evacuated. Overnight the fire spread further, burning across the mountain slope into Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Scarborough. Houses in Constantia were also consumed.
By Wednesday that week the fire had spread to Simon’s Town.
The Western Cape provincial government declared the Cape Town metropolitan area a disaster area.
Firefighters were flown to Cape Town from across the country to bolster the ranks on the front line.
On Thursday, four days after the fire began, the tide began to turn, and cooler weather saw emergency services beat back the flames.