Raging wildfires destroy homes in Cape Town, dozens evacuated (VIDEO)

CAPE TOWN, March 2 — Four houses were destroyed and dozens of people evacuated from their homes on Cape Town’s southern peninsula as wildfires whipped up by strong winds raged over nearby mountains today, fire-fighters said.

A massive fire-fighting operation has been launched, with helicopters water-bombing blazes threatening seaside villages from Muizenberg to Noordhoek, Cape Town Disaster Risk Management said today.

“Unfortunately, four homes have been destroyed, but we have 28 fire-fighting vehicles and 16 supporting vehicles on the scene this morning,” spokesman Onele Ndesi said.

“The fire started on Sunday afternoon and went through the night due to the windy conditions.”

Several roads in the area, including the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, have been closed, snarling traffic as rush-hour commuters tried to reach the city centre.

 

A firefighter reacts as flames erupt along Cape Town’s scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, March 2, 2015. — Reuters pic
A firefighter reacts as flames erupt along Cape Town’s scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, March 2, 2015. — Reuters pic

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

Some 300 fire-fighters are battling the blaze, said Theo Layne of the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services, and they are being assisted by volunteers and staff of the Table Mountain National Park, which forms part of the peninsula.

“The fire is contained in certain areas, but on the higher slopes of the mountain it is not contained yet,” he said.

Some 3,000 hectares of land in the Noordhoek and Muizenberg areas were burning, national parks spokeswoman Merle Collins told local radio news.

“We’ve sent out two helicopters,” she said

Residents described the fires as “huge and scary” as they raced across the mountain range running down the spine of the peninsula. — AFP