Capetonians were distressed to see large plumes of thick grey smoke flowing over Table Mountain on Saturday, October 31. A fire which broke out on the slopes near Deer Park, raged on through the night and was finally brought under control at 4am on Sunday morning. The cause has been revealed as a possible vagrant fire.
Approximately 50 hectares of veld has suffered damage. One firefighter was injured and treated at a nearby hospital and no civilians were injured. One property was damaged by the fire – a loft on Rugby Road – but thus far, it is the only damage reported.
Table Mountain – Cape Town is on fire 😢 pic.twitter.com/zJ2OhxESkr
— lydia van der merwe (@DerLydia) October 31, 2020
According to Philip Prins, fire manager for Table Mountain National Park, it started as a “vagrant fire”.
“Especially near Platteklip stream going up to Tafelberg Road — there are always vagrants in that area,” he told the The Daily Maverick.
Our thoughts are with our firefighters. Stay strong team as Cape Town stands behind you tonight #DeerPark #TableMountain #TableMountainNationalPark #FireSeason #WCFireSeason #Fire #Wildfire #FireIsEveryonesFight
📸 John Wilson pic.twitter.com/vViULH42ai
— SANParks TMNP (@TableMountainNP) October 31, 2020
Prins said, Rob Erasmus from Enviro Wildlife Services is habitually used by the South African National Parks (SANParks) to probe park fires. Erasmus sent him a picture of where the vagrants sat, and where the fire started.
He added that informal communities are also living in the park, and this has posed an ongoing problem. As a result of the back-and-forth movement of those living within the informal settlements, the individual who is responsible for starting the Halloween fire is long gone.