As wind subsides, firefighters hope to bring Table Mountain fire under control

Table Mountain National Parks' fire manager, Philip Prins, said that they were hoping for better weather conditions to make firefighting efforts easier.

Firefighting teams dampen smouldering vegetation, finally getting a fierce forest fire under control on the foothills of Table Mountain in Cape Town on 19 April 2021. Picture: Rodger Bosch/AFP

CAPE TOWN - The wind has subsided in Cape Town, bringing much-needed respite for exhausted firefighters who've been struggling since Sunday to bring a raging fire on Table Mountain's slopes under control.

The blaze started on Sunday. As it spread rapidly, thousands of people had to flee their homes. The inferno gutted several buildings at the University of Cape Town (UCT), as well as a government minister's Newland's home.

It also damaged part of the Rhodes Memorial restaurant and the historic Mostert Mill along the M3. Four firefighters were injured.

Four fire trucks stand parked in front of the entrance to the Jagger Library. The building is probably the biggest loss to the university, which housed invaluable collections.

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Firefighters were inside the building as they monitored for flare ups.

Building inspectors carried out four wooden chairs from the damaged building and the entrance was filled with water.

The usually bustling campus was now a ghost town.

UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said that it did not seem like operations at the institution would commence this week.

"You know, it won't be this week, that much I can say. We had hoped that it would be but it won't. The mid-term break was supposed to start on the 2nd of May, so it's almost a week before then so we're still meeting with the student leaders."

Meanwhile, Table Mountain National Parks' fire manager, Philip Prins, said that they were hoping for better weather conditions to make firefighting efforts easier.

"This fire is not going to take one or two days, its going to take much longer. Hopefully, we can get containment very soon but to put it out completely, that's going to take more than a week."

WATCH: Cape Town Fires: The remnants of UCT's Jagger Library’s Reading Room

HELPING HANDS

Ordinary Capetonians were also doing their bit to ensure that firefighting crews stayed nourished.

Fire crews have been hard at work trying to extinguish the wildfire.

On Monday, the blaze was fanned by strong winds and this prevented aerial support from being utilised.

One Cape Town resident was one of many who dropped off goods at the Roeland Street fire station in Cape Town for firefighters who were hard at work trying to extinguish the blaze.

These items include bottled water, energy drinks and snack bars among other goods.

"The firefighters are risking their lives to keep us safe and this is the little bit that w can do instead of sitting at home and doing something else I had the chance to. I was very fortunate to have a helping hand that i can come and give. There are other people up there doing a lot more and so this is the little bit that we can do," she said.

NGOs also came on board to assist.

Since Sunday, the Gift of the Givers has been preparing meals for UCT students who had to evacuate the campus as a result of the blaze

At the same time, Vodacom donated R3 million towards relief efforts to help locals who were affected by the runaway fire.

The donations were aimed at supporting efforts by provincial authorities as firefighting efforts were stepped up.

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