South African firefighters successfully contained a significant wildfire near Cape Town, the nation’s legislative capital, after four days of intense efforts. Evacuated residents were given the green light to return home as the situation improved.
The wildfire ignited on Tuesday on the mountain slopes of Simon’s Town, situated approximately 40 km south of Cape Town within the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality. Its rapid spread across thousands of hectares prompted numerous evacuations.
In an update shared via the Cape Town city government’s social media, the Joint Operations Center confirmed the clearance for evacuated individuals to return home. Sonica Lategan, the spokesperson for Disaster Risk Management, mentioned that firefighting operations had been downscaled.
Despite the reduction in firefighting efforts, responders remain at the scene to monitor for potential flare-ups. Several road closures due to the fire are still in effect, with officials committed to remaining until every last ember is extinguished.
The Cape of Good Hope, a popular tourist attraction, reopened after being temporarily closed due to safety concerns arising from the nearby fire. South African National Parks (SANParks) decided to close it on Friday but announced its reopening on Saturday morning.
While five firefighters sustained injuries, fortunately, no loss of life or significant property damage was reported. At one point, the blaze threatened the Naval Base Simon’s Town, resulting in damage to one unused building on Tuesday night.
Wildfires are not uncommon in the mountainous regions surrounding Cape Town, particularly during the hot and dry months spanning November to April. The combination of these conditions with strong coastal winds often leads to dangerous and erratic fire behaviour.