A fierce wildfire, igniting on the mountainous terrain above Kalk Bay Harbour, has left a trail of destruction, including significant damage to at least one property and the hospitalization of two individuals.
The blaze, which erupted yesterday, elicited a prompt response from multiple firefighting agencies. Units from Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), NCC Wildfire Services, Volunteer Wildfire Services, Working on Fire, and the City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services were mobilized to contain the fire, focusing their efforts on the Trappieskop area, particularly where the mountain meets the urban boundary. The air support, comprising four Huey helicopters and a spotter plane, played a crucial role in monitoring and controlling the fire.
JP Smith, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, detailed the response efforts.
“Upon recognizing the fire’s severity and its rapid approach towards residential areas, we immediately dispatched additional firefighting resources, including ten more fire engines, to the scene,” Smith explained.
‘We immediately dispatched fire crews, but when we realised the intensity and the fires rapid expansion to houses close by, we sent another 10 fire engines,’ said Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith.
The combined force of TMNP and its partners focused on the mountain slopes, while city firefighters prioritized the protection of homes on the outskirts of the urban area. Despite these efforts, one property was extensively damaged, and two of its residents were injured and needed hospital care before the teams could intervene.
As helicopters doused the flames from above, ground teams successfully prevented the fire from encroaching on properties in Kalk Bay.
“Our coordinated efforts ensured that the fire did not reach more homes. Additionally, we stationed another ten firefighting appliances near the harbour, ready to deploy if the situation escalated,” Smith added.
By evening, the aerial support had concluded its operations, but ground crews persisted in extinguishing remaining hotspots. They maintained vigilance throughout the night to prevent any resurgence of the fire.
Road closures around Boyes Drive, Old Boys Drive, Main, and Clairvaux Roads were enforced to facilitate emergency operations, with local authorities advising motorists to seek alternative routes.
In the wake of the disaster, Parkscape, a local community organization, has called on residents to support the firefighting efforts by donating essential supplies. Contributions can be made at the NCC Environmental Services offices in Westlake, ensuring the teams have the resources they need to continue their vital work.
This incident highlights the ongoing risk wildfires pose to both natural landscapes and urban communities. It underscores the importance of preparedness, swift action, and community support in mitigating the impact of such disasters.