Students were being evacuated from UCT as a fire made its way to the university. (Twitter, Riddlemethis)

  • The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services is battling a runaway fire at Rhodes Memorial, which has reached the University of Cape Town. 
  • The university said students have been evacuated from the campus by emergency services support staff.
  • The fire has destroyed parts of the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Garden located on the slopes of Table Mountain.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has begun evacuating students from the campus as a runaway veldfire close to Rhodes Memorial wreaked havoc on Sunday. 

“All UCT students have been evacuated from campus by emergency services support staff. We have taken them to predetermined locations,” UCT’s spokesperson, Elijah Moholola, said.

He added the university would continue to work with and support SanParks and the City of Cape Town to extinguish the blaze.

The City’s Fire and Rescue Services was closely monitoring the fire on Sunday.

The blaze was located close to the M3 highway on the slopes of Table Mountain. 

The City said there was no cause for people to be evacuated.

Disaster Risk Management spokesperson Charlotte Powell said at this stage, they have asked residents to be cautious.

“Close all windows and doors to prevent drafts and reduce heat. Should there be an immediate threat to your property, damp down your garden using a hose or irrigation system.”

READ | Runaway veld fire: Rhodes Memorial restaurant damaged, hikers and visitors urged to evacuate

She added Disaster Risk Management was monitoring the situation closely.

“Wildfire creates smoky conditions, so it’s important for everyone to reduce exposure to smoke. Wildfire smoke irritates your eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Children, pregnant women, people living with asthma and heart disease need to be especially careful,” Powell said.

The veldfire has destroyed parts of the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Garden located on the slopes of the mountain.

Meanwhile, the Table Mountain National Park urged all hikers within the Newlands and Rhodes Memorial area to evacuate with immediate effect.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the situation was serious with the fire spreading towards sections of UCT.

“The public is urged to avoid the area and allow the authorities to do their work. The wind is slowly picking up, which is a cause for concern. The City of Cape Town firefighting service as well as teams from SanParks and Working on Fire are on the scene already.”

Bredell added the authorities on the ground would inform members of the public immediately should the situation become more serious.

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