SANParks: More than a third of Table Mountain fires a result of arson

SANParks has recorded 63 fires in the Table Mountain National Park since April last year.

A Working on Fire helicopter demonstrates how it collects water in the Table Mountain National Park area to put out a fire on 26 February 2020. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - SANParks has recorded 63 fires in the Table Mountain National Park since April last year.

The year before there were 55 fires.

Ninety-two percent of the fires were started by people - 48% of those were by arsonists and the remainder a result of negligence.

EWN attended a media excursion where SanParks conducted a fire management display.

The alarm goes off and teams are ready for action.

They hop into a fire truck and off they go, combatting fires big or small.

SANParks said that a number of crews were used depending on the size of the fire, for example, an initial attack or extended attack.

Fire manager Phillip Prins said that NCC had been contracted to assist them with integrated fire management and also had partners including Working on Fire and Enviro Wildfire Services.

He added that if needs be, a helicopter would be dispatched.

There are three of these helicopters - one dedicated to SanParks and two for the City of Cape Town.

Prins explained that before anyone was deployed, there was a planning process so that resources were not wasted and that ultimately the fire was extinguished as soon as possible.

"Our aim is to contain the fire as soon as possible. Last year, we contained 86% of our fires within the first 90 minutes."