South Africa: Our Burning Mountain - Blaze Lays Siege to Cape Town for Third Consecutive Day


Furious southeaster bears down on city as firefighting efforts continue overnight.

Just as it seemed the summer and autumn of 2020/21 could not exact a tougher toll on the locked-down city of Cape Town, the mother of blazes charred at least 400 hectares of natural world heritage on Table Mountain, gutted cultural treasures and sent hundreds fleeing.

During the first two days of dramatic weather in the wake of the runaway Rhodes Memorial fire - and a second southeaster-fanned fire - face-masked students evacuated the University of Cape Town (UCT) and City Bowl residents escaped Vredehoek's populated perimeter.

On the mountain's eastern slopes, the Rhodes Memorial restaurant - a cherished haunt among Capetonians - was forever claimed by flames. At UCT's upper campus a little further down the drag, heritage buildings were destroyed, including the Reading Room in the nearly 200-year-old Jagger Library, and potentially irreplaceable African literary gems. On the other side of the M3 motorway, fire consigned the 1796 Mostert's Mill as we know it to history - although Friends of Mostert's Mill has vowed to rebuild it.

The first blaze, reportedly started by an unattended vagrant fire, was sparked in the game...

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