Fifteen fire engines and around 100 firefighters supported by helicopters dropping water have battled a blaze in Simon’s Town, south of Cape Town, from early on Tuesday into the early hours on Wednesday to protect houses and the naval base.
According to the City of Cape Town’s fire and rescue service, the fire was reported shortly before 7am on Tuesday.
“Resources were scrambled and crews had to carry hoses through the sides of properties to access the mountainside behind the houses. They battled thick smoke and soaring temperatures as the blaze threatened to come closer,” said MMC for safety and security JP Smith.
“Strong winds made firefighting efforts difficult for ground crews and helicopter pilots. Water bombing had to be called off at around 8pm due to visibility. Crews worked hard to damp down vegetation close to the fire breaks, which prevented the fire from coming closer.”
Shortly before 2am, all major hotspots had been extinguished and residents started returning to their homes This after several chose to evacuate as a precaution.
“Firefighters dragged hoses as they picked their way across steep rock slopes. A hose once filled with water easily weighs 100kg. In many instances they had to connect up to three hoses together to reach the flames,” Smith said.
“The firefighters, with swollen eyes, are exhausted and trying to catch some sleep, but are ready to spring back into action if the need arises. They are sleeping in front of houses that may need their protection again. They have my deepest appreciation.”