Students evacuate Cape Town University as fire damages historic buildings | South Africa

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A forest fire raging on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town spread to the University of Cape Town, burning the historic campus library and forcing the evacuation of students.

Orange flames lit the windows of the library which houses extensive archives and book collections as firefighters sprayed jets of water to extinguish the blaze. At least two floors of the Jagger Library burned down, local reports said.

Other campus buildings also caught fire, and a nearby historic windmill burned down.

Just outside campus on the slopes of Table Mountain, the wind blew the flames across the dry brush and part of the Rhodes Memorial restaurant caught fire, Cape Town media reported.

Private homes and historic structures such as the Mostert’s Hill Windmill were also damaged by the fire, according to a statement from city officials.

Historic Mostert Mill bakes as firefighters fight to contain a blaze, Cape Town
Historic Mostert Mill bakes as firefighters fight to contain a blaze, Cape Town
Photographie: Mike Hutchings / Reuters

More than 100 firefighters and emergency personnel have been deployed to the university campus and to Table Mountain National Park. Four helicopters were being used to drop water on endangered areas, officials said.

A firefighter was injured and treated at a hospital, according to the Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service.

Residents have been warned to be on alert, Charlotte Powell, spokesperson for the city’s Disaster Risk Management Center, said in a statement.

“At this point there is no reason to evacuate, but we ask residents to respect the following: close all windows to avoid drafts and reduce heat, humidify your garden using from a pipe or an irrigation system, ”said Powell.

Helicopters fight bushfire that broke out on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town
Helicopters fight bushfire that broke out on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town Photographie: Mike Hutchings / Reuters

Table Mountain National Park, which spans much of the city’s unbuilt area, has called on social media for hikers to leave the area and motorists to remove cars parked nearby.

A first alert was triggered shortly before 9 a.m. (07:00 GMT), city authorities said.

Three helicopters joined the fight, pouring water over hell, they added.

Agence France-Presse and Associated Press contributed to this report

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