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News Every Day |

Fire on Cape Town's Table Mountain under control, smoldering

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Firefighters in Cape Town finally brought a wildfire under control Monday after it swept across the slopes of the city's famed Table Mountain, burning the university's historic library and forcing the evacuation of some neighborhoods.

The smoldering fire is being watched for flareups amid high winds and hot, dry conditions.

City authorities said the fire, which started early Sunday, was “largely contained” more than 24 hours later.

The fire had already badly damaged the library and other buildings on the campus of the University of Cape Town on Sunday, as well as other historic buildings nearby. Fueled by the high winds, it spread through the wild bush on the mountain slopes toward the city's center and the surrounding residential areas.

Devil’s Peak, one of the iconic points of the mountain which overlooks downtown Cape Town, was lit up by flames as the fire raged through the night. Residents of suburbs on the mountain slopes were evacuated early Monday as the blaze came dangerously close to their homes.

Fire-fighting helicopters with water containers suspended on ropes had been scooping up water from swimming pools and the nearby ocean and dumping it on the fire. But they were grounded on Monday because of the strong winds.

Four firefighters were injured battling the blaze on the slopes, said officials. The South African army had offered to help with some of its aircraft.

“It’s a massive wind that’s blowing, and that is actually fueling the fire to spread in each and every direction,” Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said.

A man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of arson for setting additional fires, another city official said, but it's not clear if he was responsible for starting the blaze. The man was arrested after...





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