A wildfire broke out in South Africa’s Table Mountain and spread to the University of Cape Town, burning the historic library housing African antiquities at the university.
The flames forced the evacuation of hundreds of students from the university on Sunday and destroyed the oldest working windmill in South Africa.
The fire started on Sunday near the memorial to colonial leader Cecil Rhodes and quickly spread uncontrolled beneath Devil’s Peak in Table Mountain National Park in an area popular with weekend hikers and cyclists, the African news reported
By Monday morning, strong southeasterly winds, which were expected to reach more than 30 miles per hour (50 km/h) later in the day, had pushed the fire toward densely-populated areas above Cape Town city, according to local news reports.
One firefighter was hospitalized with burns, according to the Cape Town fire and rescue department, while his colleagues continued to fight the fire.
“More than 200 firefighters and emergency personnel were deployed to the university campus and to Table Mountain National Park. Four helicopters were being used to drop water on threatened areas.”
The full extent of the damage will be assessed once the fire is brought under control, the city of Cape Town said in a separate statement.
The cause of the blaze is being investigated and one person suspected of starting it has been taken into police custody, the city said.
Residents have been cautioned to be on alert, Charlotte Powell, chief spokeswoman for the city’s disaster risk management centre, said in a statement.
“At this stage, there is no cause to evacuate, but we ask that residents adhere to the following: close all windows to prevent draft and reduce heat, damp down your garden using a hose or irrigation system,” Ms Powell said
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