The devastating Cape Town fire – which has gutted some of the most historic treasures in the city – was apparently caused by a ‘vacated vagrant fire‘ at the tip of Table Mountain. That’s according to an official statement from SANParks, who also stated that ‘low humidity and soaring temperatures’ helped to exacerbate the damage.
What caused the Cape Town fire?
The revelation, made public on Sunday evening, came after investigators spend the day trying to work out where this inferno originated from. SANParks also confirmed that difficult weather conditions played their part in the Cape Town fire.
“After the initial investigation, it is surmised that the origin of the fire is from a vacated vagrant fire. Due to the extreme Fire Danger Index for today, which is Red with temperatures of 36 degrees noted and an extremely low relative humidity of under 10%, the fire spread rapidly in the direction of Rhodes Memorial.”
“One of the major contributors to the rapid rate of spread was the very old pine trees and their debris. The blaze created its own wind that further increased the rate of spread. The excessive amount of smoke and related updrafts made it impossible for the aerial support to slow the rate of spread.” | SANParks statement
‘Vagrant’ blamed for starting blaze, SANParks reveal
Meanwhile, Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato explained that a number of ‘valuable works’ had been destroyed in the UCT Library, after the fire raged onto the iconic campus. Students were swiftly evacuated from their residencies, but authorities were powerless to stop the flames from destroying the culturally significant institution.
“I wish to express our gratitude for the efforts of firefighters who have been working non-stop to bring this massive fire under control. It is saddening to note that property and historic buildings have been damaged by this blaze.”
“It is tragic that literary treasures have been lost at the UCT library, but I have been informed that some of the most valuable works were saved by the quick activation of roller doors. Our attention and support remain with firefighters and all role-players working to protect further loss of property.”
Mayor Dan Plato noted that one firefighter was being treated for burn wounds in hospital, as efforts to contain the fire continue. Property including private homes, Rhodes Memorial restaurant and historical structures such as the Mostert’s Hill windmill have been damaged. #CTNews pic.twitter.com/O2VLTKP9x5
— City of Cape Town (@CityofCT) April 18, 2021