21 horses and two tortoises, one of which did not survive, were also rescued on Tuesday night. “We are on the ground working with the authorities and our wildlife team has been working hand-in-hand with the fire departments. We are also on standby for injured animals and animals that might need evacuation,” Wanika Davids, spokesperson for the SPCA Good Hope, said.
The South African Riding for the Disabled Association, located in Constantia, had 37 horses and a pig brought to them in the early hours of Wednesday morning. SARDA stable manager and senior instructor, Teri Smith, described waiting for firefighters to walk the horses down to SARDA in the morning: “It was quite an eerie experience. You would hear explosions and the flames would jump really high. You just have this end of the world feeling”.
“We’re still covered in smoke and ash, but we’re not under threat,” Smith said. Smith, who’s lived in Cape Town for 30 years, commended officials, firefighters and community members for rallying together. “There was this great sense of teamwork. That’s what Capetonians do,” she said.
Craig Lambinon, National Sea Rescue Institute spokesperson, said their volunteers, all trained in firefighting, from Bakoven, Hout Bay, Kommetjie and Simonstown were “requested to actively get involved in physically fighting the fire and have been able to relieve fire fighters on their rotating crew shifts actively manning fire trucks, fire hose points, rolling out and rolling up fire hoses and assisting with the clearing of fire breaks”.
Cape Town’s traffic department spokesperson, Richard Coleman, has pleaded with motorists to stop hampering with the work of firefighters. “We have the public that stop to take pictures and it is really causing traffic congestion.” Coleman said as a result, they had to close some routes.
President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday applauded the bravery and hard work shown by the firefighters. “We praise the bravery and professionalism of all our fire fighters who are attending to this raging fire to save lives and stop the damage to property and our prestigious natural environment, putting their own lives at risk in the process.
Given their determination, I am certain that all our Emergency Management Services personnel deployed to quell this fire will emerge safe and victorious.”