Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

The wildfire that has been engulfing Simon’s Town since Tuesday morning continues to pose a formidable challenge, prompting the deployment of more than 200 firefighters along with a fleet of City firefighting equipment. The extensive resources include 20 pumps, four water tankers, and four skids, as firefighting efforts persist on the ground.

Throughout December, the City’s Fire Service has responded to over 2,500 incidents, encompassing fires, motor vehicle accidents, and trauma cases. Approximately 60% of these incidents, or 1,500, have been vegetation fires. In Simon’s Town, where the situation remains critical, mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, noted ongoing firefighting operations involving City staff and various other agencies. Despite efforts, the fire has yet to be contained, and precautionary evacuations have been implemented in areas such as Barnard and Victory Street.

While the Table Mountain National Park contributes five tankers and one skid to the firefighting efforts, the situation remains challenging. Aerial support, consisting of five water-bombing aircraft, resumed operations early on Wednesday morning. Western Cape MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs, and Development Planning, Anton Bredell, emphasized that the focus is on the flank moving from Castle Rock towards Simon’s Town.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre has mobilized provincial aerial resources, including four Huey helicopters, a spotter plane, and an Oryx helicopter from the SANDF. Collaborative efforts involve personnel from Working on Fire, Volunteer Wildfire Services, NCC Environmental Services, the City of Cape Town, and SANParks.

Additionally, several wildfires in the Cape Winelands District Municipality required attention. Firefighters from CWDM Fire Services, CapeNature, Winelands Fire Protection Association, NCC Environmental Services, and aerial resources from Leading Edge are actively combating these fires. The locations include a fire along the Berg River Dam outside Franschhoek and another in Du Toit’s Kloof near Paarl.

Bredell highlighted that the Western Cape government has allocated R16 million for the current wildfire season. He urged citizens to report any fire sightings promptly, emphasizing the crucial role citizens play in wildfire prevention. Fires caused by natural factors constitute less than 3% of incidents, with intentional causes at 25% and negligence at 72%.

To report fire sightings, the public can use the following contact numbers:

  • City of Cape Town: 107 or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone
  • Overberg: 028 425 1690
  • West Coast: 022 433 8700
  • Garden Route: 044 805 5071
  • Central Karoo: 023 414 2603
  • Cape Winelands: 021 887 4446

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