An initial investigation into the cause of the fire that raged across Signal Hill and Lion’s Head on Sunday night has revealed that the inferno may have been caused by people attempting to cook on the mountainside. This is according to the City of Cape Town Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, who carried out the inspection on Tuesday.
Smith said cooking utensils were found at the scene, which is located just above Quarry Hill Road in Tamboerskloof.
The fire, fanned by strong south easterly winds, rapidly spread towards Sea Point on Sunday evening. Some residents were told to evacuate, but Smith reported that a private security company had a hand in encouraging residents to leave prematurely, and not the city.
The City of Cape town has ruled arson out, and no foul play is suspected. No properties were razed by the fire. Vegetation in the area, along with popular hiking trails, have been decimated by the fire.
Lion’s Head Spiral Trail, which was meant to reopen on February 15 after routine maintenance, will remain closed indefinitely as other already-strained paths need to recover as well.
Approximately 160 hectares of land was razed by the fire, and no fatalities were reported. One man, who was reported to have been sleeping on the mountain, was treated in hospital after 45% of his body sustained burns.
Firefighters contained the blaze by Monday, and has remained this way despite the occasional flare-up.
Picture: Johan Van Schalkwyk