South Africa Tourism (SAT), the department responsible for marketing South Africa’s tourism sites to world are currently assessing the level of damage caused by an early morning Sunday fire at the slope of the Table Mountain in Cape Town.
A wildfire later spread the Table Mountain, nearby University of Cape Town (UCT) campus, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of students, officials say.
The blaze also spread to the memorial to politician Cecil Rhodes. A restaurant was destroyed. The university’s historic library and other buildings were also affected.
Speaking on the fire incident, the South Africa Tourism (SAT) Trade Relations Manager for West Africa, Muhammed Tanko Kwajaffa said SAT can not issue any statement yet since it is assessing the level of damage to the popular tourism site and will do so after fully assessing the situation.
It will be recalled South African National Parks said firefighters were alerted at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT). The flames spread quickly because of the low humidity and dry bush.
The fire created its own wind further increasing the rate of spread, it added, estimating that firefighters would need at least three days to control the blaze.
“After the initial investigation, it is surmised that the origin of the fire is from a vacated vagrant fire,” it said.
More than 120 firefighters have been deployed to the area, and one had to be sent to hospital for treatment with burn wounds.
The fire partially destroyed the University of Cape Town’s Jagger Library and the historic Mostert’s Mill. Other buildings were also affected.
“All UCT students have been evacuated from campus by emergency services support staff,” the university said on Twitter.
Residents in the area have been warned of smoke and soot in the air, and told to keep windows and doors closed.
Meanwhile hikers in the Table Mountain National Park have been urged to leave and drivers who have parked in the area have been told to collect their vehicles.