SANParks praises brave Table Mountain firefighters, rangers and looking at prescribed burns
Cape Town – South African National Parks (SANParks) has praised the bravery and dedication of, among others, the firefighters, volunteers, the City of Cape Town (CoCT) Fire and Rescue Service and the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) rangers in their efforts to contain the fire that caused massive destruction.
SANParks also said an independent investigation is being carried out on the causes and origin of the fire, which started at Rhodes Memorial on Sunday morning and spread to the mountain slopes above the City Bowl. After widespread criticism, SANParks said it would facilitate a platform for a series of discussions on the complex topic of managing fires in the park through prescribed burns.
It estimates that the fire has destroyed 600 hectares of land in the TMNP thus far.
“The devastating fires across the TMNP have brought home the value of partnerships and working together as a community to manage this National park we all love,’’ said SANParks chief executive Fundisile Mketeni.
’’Without the collective efforts of the 125 TMNP rangers, the 170 fire and rescue workers, the South African National Defence Force, CoCT personnel, law enforcement and the many volunteers, the damage, as devastating as it was, could have been much worse.
“The immediacy of the reactions of fire-fighting teams from all areas of the Western Cape, their skill, courage and commitment ensured that the fire was mostly contained by Monday afternoon.
“We also thank our 120 rangers who manage and protect this vast area of more than 28 000 hectares, recognising the many challenges they face. To manage an urban park stretching from Signal Hill to Cape Point, we rely heavily on our communities to assist, alert and raise the alarm on disasters like this, which is exactly what happened on Sunday morning.
SANParks also commended the generosity shown by the community of Cape Town to firefighters and those most affected by the fire, most notably the 4 000 University of Cape Town students who had to be evacuated from their residences.
“The outpouring of support on an emotional level was matched if not surpassed by the generosity of donations of food, water and other necessities from businesses and communities.”