Firefighters Battle Blazes on Hillsides Around Cape Town

(Bloomberg) -- Firefighters are still working to douse wildfires that broke out on hillsides overlooking Cape Town’s city center and Sea Point and Fresnaye suburbs on Sunday, threatening homes and leaving South Africa’s top tourist attraction covered in a smoky pall.

The fires, which raged on several fronts on the slopes of Signal Hill and Lion’s Head, were fanned by strong southeasterly winds and razed a large tract of natural vegetation. Helicopters were used to dump water on the flames before it became too dark to fly, leaving ground crews to battle the blaze.

“No residential properties have been damaged at this stage. No injuries were reported,” Theo Layne, a spokesman for the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Department, said by phone on Monday. Wind conditions will determine whether the fire remains contained, he said.

Cape Town last experienced serious wildfires two years ago that destroyed several buildings and a vast tract of vegetation, and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

“Most of Signal Hill and Lion’s Head has been affected,” Layne said. “Crews remained on scene throughout the night. They were mostly monitoring and dealing with hot spots and flareups that they could reach. This morning we’ve got two helicopters water bombing and they will be concentrating mostly on areas that are inaccessible.”

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