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Table Mountain Ablaze in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Apr 21 2021 (IPS) - Cape Town-based photojournalist Yazeed Kamaldien reported on a massive mountain fire that broke out on Sunday on Table Mountain and near residential areas on its foothills. By this morning, Wednesday 21 April, officials said the fire had been extinguished after three grueling days for firefighters. Firefighters are still monitoring on the ground for any flare-ups.

South African National Parks, which manages the Table Mountain area, estimates that the fire destroyed 600 hectares of land. A total 135 firefighters were dispatched along with 125 mountain rangers and an additional 170 fire and rescue workers.

While there were no deaths in the blaze, at least 4,000 students from the University of Cape Town were evacuated from their university residences. Locals have been assisting students with meals and other necessities.

Residents living on the Table Mountain slopes also had to evacuate their homes as the fire reached closer to their doors. Firefighting teams were deployed to extinguish the flames.
Heritage sites and university buildings were damaged and destroyed. Of the 11 affected buildings, seven are in the University of Cape Town campus.

Among these was the J.W. Jagger Library, which housed special collections that are well over a hundred years old. Other destroyed landmarks are the Mostert Mill and the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant.

Local police have arrested and charge with arson a vagrant while two other suspects are still being sought.

For three days from Sunday morning until late on Tuesday night, Cape Town’s firefighters were dispatched to Table Mountain and surrounding areas to battle a blaze that destroyed 600 hectares of land, displaced 4,000 students from the University of Cape Town and left heritage buildings damaged. Credit: Yazeed Kamaldien

By Wednesday morning, the fire had been contained and firefighters were still out monitoring areas around Table Mountain and areas nearby. The fire had started on Sunday at 9am around the historical Rhodes Memorial site. The fire destroyed the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant, which overlooks the city. Credit: Yazeed Kamaldien

Homeless people living on the slopes of Table Mountain lost their shacks and few possessions. They escaped with their lives to find shelter in safer spaces. Credit: Yazeed Kamaldien

A lone homeless man sits amidst the burnt out grass around him on the slopes of Table Mountain, where Cape Town’s firefighters fought back flames across 600 hectares of land. Local police arrested a vagrant for allegedly starting the fire and charged him with arson. Two more suspects are being sought. Credit: Yazeed Kamaldien

A lone homeless man sits amidst the burnt out grass around him on the slopes of Table Mountain, where Cape Town’s firefighters fought back flames across 600 hectares of land. Local police arrested a vagrant for allegedly starting the fire and charged him with arson. Two more suspects are being sought. Credit: Yazeed Kamaldien

A homeless man pulls his few possessions in a suitcase, leaving an area where firefighters were still battling flames on Tuesday afternoon. Homeless people living on the slopes of Table Mountain, where the fire spread for a few kilometers, fled their shacks for safer spaces. By Wednesday morning, officials had extinguished most of the fire that has left a trail of destruction. Credit: Yazeed Kamaldien

 


  
 
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