CT firefighters on high alert following Helderberg fires

City of Cape Town officials say firefighters have battled around 100 bush fires over the past 48 hours.

 Firefighters and volunteers contained a blaze next to residences in the Schapenberg, Rome Glen area. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - More than 100 firefighters will remain on high alert in the Helderberg in the Western Cape following several devastating fires in the area.

Along with the massive Somerset West blaze, fire crews also attended to smaller grass and bush fires in the Cape Town City bowl.

City of Cape Town officials say firefighters have battled around 100 bush fires over the past 48 hours.

Firefighting operations on the ground, assisted by helicopters water bombing areas, were still underway late on Wednesday afternoon.

Rome Glen residents in the Helderberg have elaborated on their experiences over the past two days.

One resident said, “It was quite scary, it was very rapidly that it seemed to spread. We had two bokkies (little bucks) here and they just seemed to be in a state of shock, just standing around.”

Firemen have been kept busy battling other blazes in Llandudno, on De Waal Drive and in Kleinmond.


With firefighting efforts in the Helderberg area entering their third day, some residents are counting the costs after losing their homes.

The fire was sparked on Tuesday and has destroyed a number of structures, including a luxury guest lodge near Somerset West.

Fire and Rescue Services' Theo Layne says, “There are a few areas of concern, but right now the wind has abated completely and this just meant that the firefighters could do a little bit of extinguishing throughout the night. However crews are going to remain there for the whole day.”


At the same time, officials are still battling to beat back a blaze in Grabouw.

Overberg chief fire officer Reinhardt Geldenhuys says, “The Grabouw fire, we managed to contain the fire onto Haanskop. We’ve got one spot that jumped out, we are trying to put that out now and bring in areal assistance for that. So, as we're speaking, the choppers are spilling out for that but we got that contained. Then there is still a fire high up on the mountains connected to the city’s fire.”