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South Africa: Western Cape: fires

Spate of fires in Western Cape are ‘suspicious’
Cape Town – It was suspicious that so many fires were breaking out in the city and its surrounds, the City of Cape Town said on Tuesday, as firefighters battled blazes from the CBD to Paarl.

Mayoral committee member for social services and security JP Smith said the cause of the fires was being investigated.

“The spate of fires is truly suspicious and we have an investigations team that is looking into it. The summer months are bad enough as it is, with the hot and dry conditions and the strong south-easterly wind,” Smith said.

“It is a particularly stressful time for our Fire and Rescue Service, as well as the other firefighting agencies and we need the public to help us by being careful with flammable materials, and also reporting fires as soon as they spot them.

“When people notice suspicious activity, we encourage them to report that too because we cannot rule out the possibility that some fires are started deliberately.”

According to Western Cape officials, there have been about 19 major fires across the province since the beginning of the year, mainly in the Cape Peninsula, West Coast and Cape Winelands districts.

On Monday night, a fire broke out above the suburb of Vredehoek and another in Paarl, both of which forced residents to flee their homes.

Colin Deiner, head of Disaster Management in the Western Cape, said that no sooner had the City Bowl fire been brought under control than teams had to be deployed to Paarl.