According to a media release shared by a Twitter account linked to the park, more than 120 firefighters have been battling a massive explosion, and four helicopters have been deployed to help with the efforts.
“The fire created its own wind which further increased the rate of spread. The excessive amount of smoke and associated updrafts made it impossible for air support to slow down the rate of spread,” Park said.
The statement said that the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant was ablaze and “a fire has also spread above the campus of the University of Cape Town.”
A woman in the park said she was “trying to put out the fire” in a video posted on Twitter, in which a pile of smoke appeared in the background. In a subsequent tweet, Lisket Lombard said she was safe but her car was “destroyed”.
“I’ve never experienced a fire that spreads unexpectedly fast. I have so much respect for our firefighters,” she said.
According to a statement from the National Parks of South Africa, “empty vaginal fires” may be responsible for the eruption.
“After preliminary investigation, it has been estimated that the fire originated from an empty vaginal fire. For today due to the extreme fire hazard index, which is red with a temperature of 36 degrees and an extremely low temperature of less than 10. There is low relative humidity.%, Rapid fire spread in the direction of Rhodes Memorial, “the statement read.
Fire day ahead
Planned by the wind, the fire spreads from the area around Phillip Kogasana Drive, which leads to the boundaries of Mountain National Park, heading to the University of Cape Town buildings to the Rhodes Memorial, spokesman for the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Told CNN.
He said that for the first time local information was given to the authorities at 8:45 am (2.45 pm ET).
“This is not an easy fire that will probably see firefighters fighting the flame for at least (three days),” the release reads.
Earlier on Sunday, the National Park’s Twitter account requested that spectators “refrain from entering the area” and that all hikers within the Newlands and Rhodes Memorial area were immediately evacuated.