Cape Town is still in the peak of fire season, and a post in the Hiking Cape Town Facebook group has warned smokers to be vigilant when visiting Table Mountain or any other national park or reserve.
“Please refrain from lighting up in nature, anywhere in nature,” wrote Miriam Mannak to the group. “Besides the fact that not everyone likes your smoke, that one badly extinguished stompie/cigarette butt, it may set off a fire.”
She made reference to when large parts of Table Mountain were devastated after a cigarette butt ignited raging fires in 2006. One person died as a result of these blazes.
After the 2006 mountain fires, the City of Cape Town set up a “stompie hotline” for witnesses to report any cases where they see someone tossing a lit cigarette butt out of a car or smoking in nature. The number is 021-424-7715.
“Basically, when you see somebody driving and they flick out a cigarette butt out the window you call the Stompie Hotline. We will then take the information you give us and check who the vehicle belongs to, give the information to the fire and life safety department who will follow up on it,” Jaco Groenewald from the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre said in a CapeTalk interview. “They will send a letter to that person warning them not to do it again and if it is in the outline area where there is a risk of fire, they will actually fine the person.”
Groenewald added that when a stompie incident is reported, the vehicle registration, colour and make of the car is required. The time and location are also required.
Those found guilty via the stompie hotline are fined R1 500, while those who are found smoking outside of designated areas within Cape town are fined R1 000.