Table Mountain Fire: Cape Town wildfire largely contained but danger remains

The fire that broke out on South Africa’s iconic Table Mountain on Sunday morning was largely contained but the danger remains, the Western Cape provincial government warned.

Nine civilians were taken to hospital with breathing challenges after smoke inhalation and six firefighters sustained injuries in the line of duty, it said in an update on the fire.

Fully extinguishing all of the fire lines is still the government’s first priority, Western Cape’s head of environmental affairs said, adding that over the next few days firefighters will continue to dampen down the affected areas and monitor for flare ups until the government is completely sure that the fire is out.

Five helicopters and over 150 firefighters were helping douse the blaze.

The fire, which initially started in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial, has spread towards the Vredehoek area in City Bowl after reaching the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Damage assessments will be done later and once the fire has been extinguished, the investigation into the cause of the fire will be conducted, according to the government.

The latest official figures show that a total of eleven structures were damaged or destroyed by the fire, including six buildings on the UCT and the Mostert’s Mill built around 1796.

The university’s library, the Jagger Reading Room constructed in the 1930s, is “completely gutted” and some of its valuable collections have been lost, according to Ujala Satgoor, Executive Director of the UCT library.

South African National Parks estimated that roughly 400 hectares of wildland have been destroyed.