Vhahangwele Nemakonde
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
20 Apr 2021
10:06 am

Cape Town fire ‘largely contained’

Vhahangwele Nemakonde

While firefighting efforts were being hampered by strong winds, officials say the weather 'seemed good' today.

The University of Cape Town’s Jagger Library, which housed thousands of theses, artworks and precious documents, was gutted by the fire. Picture: Ashraf Hendricks/GroundUp

 

The Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) says it has contained 90% of the fire that started at the Rhodes Memorial on Sunday morning.

This after more than 150 firefighters spent most of Sunday and Monday trying to contain the fire, which destroyed the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Garden, the iconic Mostert Mill and historic University of Cape Town buildings.

On Monday morning, the City of Cape Town said the fire had spread towards the Vredehoek area as a result of the south eastern wind.

“The wind speed increased from about 2am this morning and additional fire crews are now stationed at Pepper Tree and Chelmsford area,” said the city.

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While firefighting efforts were being hampered by strong winds on Monday afternoon, the TMNP said the weather “seemed good” today.

“Four helicopters will start the initially extinguishing areas close to the city edge. (3 Huey helicopters and one Oryx from SA National Defence Force) will be assisting with fire suppression in the Table Mountain National Park,” it said.

The fire was, however, still raging below and above Tafelberg Road and as a result, the M3 and Dewaal roads remain closed.

About 60 hectares have burned up to this far, said the TNMP, adding multiple mop-up operations would follow in days to come.


Meanwhile, South Africans have been donating food and money to those affected by the fire.

According to the TMNP manager Frans van Rooyen, community members and businesses came out in numbers on Sunday at the Newlands firebase to drop off food, water, energy drinks and other necessities.

READ MORE: South Africans step up to help Cape Town fire victims

The Gift of the Givers said it had fed 4 000 UCT students and further called on the public to donate essential items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

“This is highly appreciated and anyone who still wants to donate can drop off donations at the Newlands firebase off the M3 highway,” said Van Rooyen.