Africa

South African firefighters continue to battle wildfire

Provincial minister says between 150 and 200 firefighters are on fire line battling blaze

Hassan Isilow   | 19.04.2021
South African firefighters continue to battle wildfire

JOHANNESBURG

Firefighters in South Africa continued to battle a wildfire raging out of control in the city of Cape Town late Sunday after it destroyed a historic university’s library and a cafe.  

“The wildfire on the slopes of Table Mountain National Park continues to burn. Several buildings on the University of Cape Town campus have been affected and all efforts to contain the fire continue,” Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said in a statement.  

Winde said the fire, which started at 8.45 a.m. local time Sunday, destroyed part of a cafe at the Rhodes Memorial and then moved towards the University of Cape Town’s upper campus.
The premier said students living on campus have been evacuated and the city is working with the university in coordinating alternate accommodation for affected students.  

The University of Cape Town is a top learning institution on the continent which attracts students from all over the world. 

“No classes, tutorials, laboratory work or tests will take place on Monday, 19 April or Tuesday, 20 April. We will assess the situation and provide further updates before midday on Tuesday,” the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, said in a statement.  

Winde said four helicopters provided by the city of Cape Town continue to water-bomb the area and teams from the city and other organizations are working to bring the fire under control. 

“Between 150 and 200 firefighters are on the fire line. Unfortunately, two firefighters have been injured and taken to hospital,” said Western Cape Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell. 

According to Table Mountain National Park, the disaster is believed to have been caused by an unattended vagrant fire.

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