With Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato having announced that the devastating blaze wreaking havoc in the Mother City has successfully been brought under control on Monday afternoon, fire crews remain in place to ensure that no further flare-ups occur. Residents remain concerned though, with smoke engulfing the city bowl cradled beneath Table Mountain and immeasurable damage to historical sites and properties having been reported .
It was confirmed earlier in the day that since the fire began on Sunday morning, four firefighters have been injured and are receiving medical treatment.
Cape Town fire update
Shortly after 16:00 on Monday afternoon, Disaster Risk Management provided an update on firefighting efforts, saying that crews are still monitoring flare ups on Philip Kgosana Drive and Tafelberg Drive. A spokesperson said that the fire had jumped the road towards Bluegum Forest.
“No active evacuations are taking place and residents that were evacuated should not return as yet because the areas is filled with smoke and dust particles,” they warned.
City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services Spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said earlier in the day that active firefighting is concentrated in Vredehoek, Philip Kgosana Drive and around the University of Cape Town (UCT), where the prestigious institution’s library was gutted less than 24-hours prior.
He said that the City had dispatched 32 firefighting appliances and more than 150 firefighters, assisted by staff from TMNP, Working on Fire and the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS). Carelse added that aerial firefighting support remains grounded due to the strong winds causing firefighters immense difficulty.
Thermal analysis assisting firefighting efforts
Using the Helix ISR system, the City has been able monitor the three areas where the fires are most intense. Watch the system in action below:
The City’s Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, told The South African that the system is immensely useful, and has provided invaluable support in fighting the fires.
“You can see every bit of flame in the areas where you might not pick it up until it spirals out of control. It’s detailed situational analysis that you can’t believe.
He added that it has helped the teams battling to the blaze to discount false reports, and said that the drone-like device is able to withstand some of the severe weather conditions that have left helicopters grounded.
Evacuations in Vredehoek, UCT
Evacuations have taken place at UCT as well on Peppertree Road, Ministerial Estate, Disa Park, and the Mountain View complex in Vredehoek.
All schools in Vredehoek have been asked to evacuate due to heavy smoke infiltrating classrooms.
Disaster Risk Management’s Charlotte Powell said that in the event of evacuation, the public should remember to take chronic medication, Identity Documents, passports, cash, cellphones, bottled water, non-perishable food, a set of clothing, blanket and toiletries.
She added that the City’s Air Quality Monitoring Unit has recorded very high levels of Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM 2.5) at the Foreshore Monitoring Station, and offered advise to those who may be experiencing distress and trouble breathing.
“Asthmatics and other sensitive receptors with respiratory conditions are urged to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed, or alternatively leave the area if possible and to seek medical attention if respiratory distress is experienced,” she said.