Rhodes Memorial Restaurant burnt down after vacated vagrant fire.

[Photo of UCT Library Fire via JWI.News]

SANParks - Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) can confirm that the Rhodes Memorial Fire was reported at 09:00 AM. TMNP/contract wildfire crews (NCC Wildfire) from the Newlands Firebase were dispatched immediately. The location of the fire was immediately above Philip Kgosana Drive/Hospital Bend. After the initial investigation, it is surmised that the origin of the fire is from a vacated vagrant fire. Due to the extreme Fire Danger Index for today, which is Red with temperatures of 36 degrees noted and an extremely low relative humidity of under 10%, the fire spread rapidly in the direction of Rhodes Memorial.

One of the major contributors to the rapid rate of spread was the very old pine trees and their debris. The fire created its own wind that further increased the rate of spread. The excessive amount of smoke and related updrafts made it impossible for the aerial support to slow the rate of spread.

Philip Prins, TMNP Fire Manager, said "we currently have 129 firefighters on the line from TMNP, NCC Wildfires, Working on Fire, City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services; Volunteer Wildfire Services. More firefighting crews will join us shortly. TMNP and the City of Cape Town have four helicopters currently operating in the area. There are numerous other water tankers and firefighting vehicles on the scene managed between TMNP and the City of Cape Town.'

It can be confirmed that the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant has unfortunately burnt down. The fire has also spread to the veld above the University of Cape Town (UCT) upper campus and to areas below the M3. Roads have been closed and please be vigilant when travelling through these areas.

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications

Source: www.arrivealive.co.za