Cape Fires: Cooler weather to bring some relief

Firefighters are hopeful the rain and cooler weather will bring some relief to the raging fires.

Controlled burning taking place in Tokai on Forestry/SANParks property bordering homes on 4 March 2015 Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Some relief is expected for firefighters battling a four-day blaze around Table Mountain in Cape Town, with rain and cool weather forecast throughout the day.

On Tuesday, Capetonians experienced the hottest day in 100 years.

More than half of the City of Cape Town's Fire and Rescue staff and additional resources from other emergency services around the country have been deployed to quell the blaze that's damaged at least 13 homes.

Eight more houses were severely damaged overnight, with three of them totally destroyed in the inferno since the first blaze broke out in Muizenberg on Sunday.

Several properties have been destroyed in Tokai as the fire swept through the area in the early hours this morning.

Around 4,000 hectares of land have also been affected.

Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Theo Layne explains what's expected today:

"Today we're going to be having a little bit of a cooler day with expected rain, which is going to assist with damping or cooling down of the entire burnt areas. That should make it a little easier for firefighters to contain any flare-ups that should occur."

Authorities are warning it could take several more days before the fire is completely extinguished.


Many residents in Zwaanswyk were forced to abandon their homes and seek shelter with neighbours.

They say authorities commanded them to leave their homes when strong winds picked up shortly after midnight, causing fires to spread quite rapidly.

Thick smoke now blocks out the sun over Zwaanswyk and the smell of ash and smoke fills the air.

Emergency vehicles are parked in several cul-de-sacs.

But for a handful of homes it's too late after flames had already got to them by this morning.

Residents are helping each other by collecting belongings, searching for lost pets, or wetting down smoldering vegetation.

Layne says evacuations were widespread.

"Because it was various places, it's a little difficult to say what happened at each individual area as far as any negative results of evacuation."

The City of Cape Town however says fire officials will visit and assess any homes at risk before advising evacuation.


Relief efforts are also underway in communities across Muizenberg, Tokai and Noordhoek where affected residents are clearly panicked.

A group of Noordhoek residents spent the night at a local sports complex while others, especially the elderly have taken shelter at a local church hall where relief efforts are underway.

Residents say this wild fire reminds them of the destruction caused by a similar blaze in the area 15 years ago.


People are streaming in to the Noordhoek Outdoor Centre to drop off donations or to volunteer in any way they can.

Bottled water, energy bars and food for the firefighters have been dropped off at the Lakeside Fire Station.

One volunteer says he's happy to lend a helping hand.

"I think it's probably just human nature that people want to assist and help where they can and the volunteers that have come to help here has been absolutely insane. There are so many people who just want to help in so many ways."

President Jacob Zuma has thanked firefighters for their bravery since the blaze, described as one of the worst in years that broke out on the mountains in Muizenberg on Sunday.

WATCH: Inside the flames with our firefighters

Images by Aletta Gardner/EWN.