Five firefighters have sustained injuries and two were taken to hospital as Cape firefighters continue their battle to contain a fire near Castle Rock, Simon’s Town as a strong southeaster resisted these attempts.
CAPE TOWN – Five firefighters have sustained injuries and two were taken to hospital as Cape firefighters continue their battle to contain a fire near Castle Rock, Simon’s Town as a strong southeaster resisted these attempts.
City Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said an emergency call was received after 7am of mountain slopes alight in Simon’s Town, on Tuesday.
At around 1pm, over 60 City firefighters were on scene and four helicopters and a spotter plane were involved in aerial firefighting efforts.
Earlier Tuesday morning, Carelse said the two choppers were water bombing the area as the fire was being fanned by a mild southeaster up Miller’s Point.
Table Mountain National Parks (TMNP) dispatched contracted crews from NCC Environmental Services, Working on Fire, Volunteer Wildfire Services.
In the update provided on Wednesday morning, Carelse commended these firefighting crew along with Disaster Risk Management volunteers and City staff who worked tirelessly throughout the night to keep the community safe.
“Currently three choppers are water bombing the area while over 300 staff are still on the ground. Only a single derelict building was damaged last night at around 20:00 on the grounds of the SA Navy.
“The threat to the houses on Victory, Horatio and Barnard Streets was averted in the early hours of this morning,” Carelse said.
“The residents of Harbour Heights were evacuated as a precaution just before 01:00. Five firefighters sustained injuries and two were taken to hospital.”
Carelse also thanked the residents and corporates that donated refreshments to staff on the front line.
TMNP Integrated Fire Manager Justin Buchmann said the fire started on private land and burned into the park. The fire was burning on private land and Public Works land towards the armaments depot.
At the time (around 2pm), Buchmann said there were no structures in danger but that that could change later in the day depending on the weather conditions and success of the helicopters.
SANParks also made an urgent call, on their Facebook page, for donations of 5l water, energy bars, eyedrops and snacks for teams battling to blaze.
One resident, Debbie Els, said they were hoping the wind would not get worse and they were praying for Simon’s Town.
“I pray for Simon’s Town. The last big fire when staying there we lost our home. Please let’s pray for them, if the wind blows and it comes over the mountain, it is over… I have family and friends there, we also lost our home at Admirals Kloof with the big fire years ago. Nothing was saved.”
The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage.
Earlier this month, TMNP reported a surge in fires during the November and early December period with 34 fires responded to from November 1 to December 8.
TMNP called the occurrence an alarming trend, with a concentration of incidents primarily within the Signal Hill area- making it a current hot spot.
SANParks Regional Communications Manager-Cape Region Lauren Howard-Clayton said: “Routine patrols and monitoring are conducted in identified high-risk areas whenever specific patterns or trends are detected.”