Skeleton Gorge Fire: Aerial resources on standby as hot spots persists

Several fires, as a result from lightning strikes were reported on Saturday. Picture: SANParks - Table Mountain National Park

Several fires, as a result from lightning strikes were reported on Saturday. Picture: SANParks - Table Mountain National Park

Published Apr 29, 2024


Cape Town - The Skeleton Gorge Fire currently has a number of hot spot areas in the mountain cliffs and behind Kirstenbosch Gardens, according to the latest assessment conducted by Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) Fire Management.

South African National Parks (SANParks) spokesperson, JP Louw, said that aerial resources were on standby for firefighting, “but operations are currently not possible due to challenging wind conditions and cloud cover”.

Louw said that throughout the day, ground crews from TMNP, NCC Environmental Services, Working on Fire, as well as the City of Cape Town Biodiversity unit, will be deployed, with staff presence scheduled for overnight monitoring.

“Given the fire's location in inaccessible terrain, particularly in the cliffs, it poses ongoing risks, especially if wind patterns shift. For safety reasons, we urge hikers to avoid the area until further notice,” Louw said.

TMNP also provided an update on affected hiking areas:

  • Back Table and Skeleton Gorge

Newlands Forest access area (Fire base) and surrounding trails will remain closed to members of the public.

Trails from Constantia Nek to Newlands Forest, will also remain closed.

Camps Bay and Hout Bay trails have been reopened

  • Cape of Good Hope

Hiking routes from Gifkommetjie to Circles Vlei and trails originating from Olifantsbos, as well as Sirkelvlei hiking trail and Link Road cycling route in the Cape Of Good Hope section, have been reopened.

During the weekend's fire operations, more than 20 guests were evacuated from two accommodation sites in TMNP, namely Overseers Cottage along the Back Table, as well as Olifantsbos in the Cape Of Good Hope, as a safety precaution.

In case of emergencies or sightings of new fires, please contact 086 110 6417 or the Newlands Dispatch at 021 689 7438.

Nontsikelelo Mpulo, director of marketing and communications at the SA National Biodiversity Institute, previously said there were veld fires close to the Kirstenbosch gardens and, as a result, there was low visibility and ash and smoke permeating throughout the grounds.

“Our thoughts are with those fighting the fires in the air and on the ground. We extend our thanks to them.”

* Additional reporting by Keagan Mitchell.

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