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Media Release: TMNP Fires: SAPS Help With Patrols

Date: 29th January 2008

Cape Town, Sunday 27 January 2008 –Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has requested the SAPS to step up patrols between Redhill and Oceanview areas, as a result of 12 fires, all believed to be deliberate, which all happened in the last 23 days.

TMNP advises what people can do

Cape Town, Sunday 27 January 2008 –Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has requested the SAPS to step up patrols between Redhill and Oceanview areas, as a result of 12 fires, all believed to be deliberate, which all happened in the last 23 days.  

“We are going to ask SANParks Corporate Intelligence Services, an in-house crime intelligence unit of SANParks, to set up a team that will work with the SAPS in investigating the recent outbreak of fires,” says Philip Prins, fire and technical services manager of the TMNP.

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) reports that today three fires were deliberately started near Cape Point after midday.  All are now under control.  On Friday, 25 January 2008, two fires broke out in the Redhill area and caused extensive damage to property.  These fires have also been contained.  

The TMNP has laid two charges of arson at Simon’s Town police station and will be laying additional charges tomorrow, Monday, 28 January 2008.

The Park aerial resources for fire fighting include a rented helicopter, whose rental it pays out of own resources and a City of Cape Town (CoCT) helicopter, operated by the Working on Fire programme.  

Ground resources include 34 firefighters, who are on standby 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Additional resources are called when required.  The CoCT’s fire department assists with operations by protecting the urban edge.  The TMNP’s Volunteer Wildfire Services and Working on Fire teams are an additional resource called upon when required by the TMNP incident commander.  

Residents are urged to partner with the TMNP in fighting fires by:

  • Calling the TMNP hotline at 086 110 6417, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to report fires; 
  • People living on the mountain side are urged not to plant or litter  fire breaks as they are meant to be clear-bush free areas; 
  • Being vigilant about protecting one’s property – gutters should be cleared of dry matter; and any dead and dry bush around the house should be cleared away;
  • Residents should rather plant water wise fynbos species in their gardens.  One can contact the TMNP’s Buffelsfontein visitor’s centre at Cape Point to buy seeds and for advice on waterwise plants; 
  • One must ensure that one knows where the fire hydrants are in one’s vicinity.  Faulty and leaking hydrants should be reported to the fire department of the CoCT; 
  • Ensure that outside taps are in working order and that own hose pipes are of sufficient length; 
  • Join the TMNP’s Volunteer Wildfire Services; 
  • Report people starting fires by calling the TMNP’s hotline at 086 110 6417.  This is a 24 hours a day, seven days a week hotline.
     

For further information, please contact:

Phumeza Mgxashe, communications manager, Table Mountain National Park.
Cell: 083 589 8588 

Philip Prins, fire and technical services manager, Table Mountain National Park
Cell: 083 961 5046

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