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Table Mountain Fires in 2021. | Wikimedia Creative Commons

Cape Town fire threatens student residents

I was shocked that the situation quickly turned life-threatening. I remember thinking that the flames that had begun to destroy my university would do the same to my apartment.

Student Thabile Mofokeng feared her apartment would burn down as flames intensified.
First-person source
Student Thabile Mofokeng feared her apartment would burn down as flames intensified.
Background
On Sunday, April 18, wildfires enveloped Cape Town’s Table Mountain and spread to the nearby University of Cape Town. 

The fires destroyed a structure behind the University created in memorial of Cecil Rhodes and a restaurant. The University’s upper campus and Library were also severely damaged.

According to Business Insider, satellite footage of the event shows a fast progression of the fires and a chard landscape. The fires reportedly destroyed 650 acres of land. 

Hundreds of firefighters and volunteers worked to keep the fire from spreading further, and on Tuesday, April 20, the fires were brought to control. Fortunately, no fatalities were recorded.

The management of the mountainous region, which is home to a diverse range of alien vegetation has been put on blast for its effectiveness in risk management.

EWN reported that a man had been put in custody for allegedly starting one of the fires.

The fires that hit the University of Cape Town were not the last of fires experienced by Cape Town residents in a short period. On May 3, another blaze broke out in Simon’s Town Admirals Kloof — just two weeks after fire-fighters fought the blaze at the University of Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — It was a Sunday morning when I was stunned when a fire that caught my attention with its colors wavering across the mountain.

As it escalated, my awe turned into fear.

As the fires spread towards the University of Cape Town on April 18, students and staff fled the historic building to escape the inferno.

Although I live off-campus, the danger from the fires crept into the inner city so rapidly, I braced to evacuate my residence.

Fire on the slopes of Table Mountain

I woke up and got on with making breakfast.

Table Mountain overlooks the University of Cape Town and is visible from my kitchen window.

As I glanced out, I saw the mountain engulfed with patches of fire. Because I had not seen a wildfire before, I was captivated by its colors on the backdrop of the mountain.

At no point did I imagine fleeing as the wind seemed to be steering it away.

Things escalate quickly

Then calm turned into chaos. The fire situation had escalated.

Helicopters veered to the area and dumped water while on the ground. Fire brigades made their way to the scene.

For a moment, between 12 and 1 p.m, the fire seemed to be under control, but I quickly realized that was a false assumption. It was sort of like the fire paused to re-blaze.

The fire surged onto Rhodes Memorial, a structure built above the University campus, and then toward the university’s upper campus.

I was shocked that the situation quickly turned life-threatening. I remember thinking that the flames that had begun to destroy my university would do the same to my apartment.

At the same time, my friend who lives in the university’s residence rushed to my apartment for shelter. She was evacuated from her residence and was distressed.

Rational thought out the window

The firefighters contained the fires before they could reach my apartment.

I was the only option of immediate safety for my friend. I started to think of how my food supply was low when she arrived, and I did not know how I would sustain the both of us.

I became stressed thinking about how we might survive with a limited supply of food, toiletries, and clothes. It could be days or weeks before she returns to her residence.

I reached out to organizations that came out to help stranded students.

The days following the fire were some of the most challenging days that I had experienced, but I was thankful we were not injured.

On Sunday, April 18, wildfires enveloped Cape Town’s Table Mountain and spread to the nearby University of Cape Town. 

The fires destroyed a structure behind the University created in memorial of Cecil Rhodes and a restaurant. The University’s upper campus and Library were also severely damaged.

According to Business Insider, satellite footage of the event shows a fast progression of the fires and a chard landscape. The fires reportedly destroyed 650 acres of land. 

Hundreds of firefighters and volunteers worked to keep the fire from spreading further, and on Tuesday, April 20, the fires were brought to control. Fortunately, no fatalities were recorded.

The management of the mountainous region, which is home to a diverse range of alien vegetation has been put on blast for its effectiveness in risk management. On the other hand, EWN reported that a man had been put in custody for allegedly starting one of the fires.

The fires that hit the University of Cape Town were not the last of fires experienced by Cape Town residents in a short period. On May 3, another blaze broke out in Simon’s Town Admirals Kloof — just two weeks after fire-fighters fought the blaze at the University of Cape Town

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I am a South African based freelance journalist. I studied Environmental Science and Journalism at Monash University.