The Citizen (Gauteng)

Cape Town’s fire heroes


The South African National Parks (SANParks) has praised the bravery and dedication of firefighte­rs to contain the fire that caused massive destructio­n after it started in the Table Mountain National Park on Sunday.

Those involved in containing the fire included the volunteers, City of Cape Town (CoCT) Fire, Rescue Services and Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) rangers.

“The devastatin­g fires have brought home the value of partnershi­ps and working together as a community to manage this National Park we all love,” said SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni.

“Without the collective efforts of the 125 TMNP rangers, the 170 fire and rescue workers, the South African National Defence Force, CoCT personnel, law enforcemen­t and the many volunteers, the damage, as devastatin­g as it was, could have been much worse.”

The immediacy of the reactions of firefighti­ng teams from all areas of the Western Cape, their skill, courage and commitment ensured that the fire was mostly contained by Monday, hee said.

The Rhodes Memorial Fire was reported at 9am on Sunday.

The TMNP and contract wildfire crews (NCC Wildfire) from the Newlands Firebase were dispatched immediatel­y.

TMNP manager Philip Prins co-ordinated them and the firefighte­rs from Working on Fire, CoCT Fire and Rescue Services and Volunteer Wildfire Services.

TMNP and the CoCT had four helicopter­s operating in the area. The SA Air Force also made available two helicopter­s.

“We also thank our 120 rangers who manage and protect this vast area of more than 28 000 hectares, recognisin­g the many challenges they face.

“To manage an urban park stretching from Signal Hill to Cape Point, we rely heavily on communitie­s to raise the alarm on disasters like this, which is exactly what happened on Sunday morning,” Mketeni said.

SANParks also commended the generosity shown by the community of Cape Town to those firefighte­rs and those most affected by the fire, most notably the 4 000 University of Cape Town students who had to be evacuated.

“The outpouring of support on an emotional level was matched if not surpassed by the generosity of donations of food, water and other necessitie­s from businesses and communitie­s,” Mketeni said. –

We rely heavily on communitie­s to raise the alarm on disasters like this.

Fundisile Mketeni SANParks CEO

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