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Cape Town, South Africa: As Table Mountain fires continue to rage, man is arrested

“A suspect in his 30s was arrested last night near Devil’s Peak,” Cape Town said in a statement.

Authorities will investigate speculations that additional fires were started and whether the original blaze was an act of arson, the statement added.

About 150 firefighters tackled the blaze on Monday, which started in Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, damaging buildings and causing hikers to evacuate from the city’s most famous landmark.

Adverse weather conditions are hampering firefighters’ efforts to put out the blaze, according to the city of Cape Town, which said the blaze “is not yet under control .. wind is a major contributing factor”.

Support for aerial firefighting remains on hold due to high winds, according to an update shared on Facebook.

Two firefighters were injured and admitted to hospital and nine structures were destroyed in the blaze, Cape Town Fire and Rescue spokesman Jermaine Carelse told CNN on Sunday in an email.

The fire is now spreading towards Vredehoek, located in the City Bowl, on the slopes of Table Mountain. All schools in the area have been asked to evacuate.

“All efforts remain focused on active firefighting at this time, although the blaze is difficult to reach in places and we hope that aerial firefighting support can be deployed to extinguish the flames before they are released. ‘they do not reach the urban periphery, “says the Twitter account of the city of Cape Town. said Monday morning.

The historic library on fire

The fire “completely emptied” the historic reading room at the University of Cape Town’s Jagger Library on Sunday and forced the evacuation of students.

University of Cape Town Libraries executive director Ujala Satgoor said staff watched with “horror and helplessness” as the “elegant and historic” library burned down.

“Some of our valuable collections have been lost, but a full assessment can only be done once the building has been declared safe and we can enter the building,” Satgoor added.

“It is tragic that literary treasures have been lost in the UCT library, but I have been informed that some of the most valuable works have been saved by the rapid activation of the rolling doors,” said the executive mayor. from Cape Town, Dan Plato, in a statement.

Private homes were damaged in the blaze, as well as the Rhodes Memorial restaurant and historic structures such as the Mostert’s Hill Windmill, according to Satgoor.

“I wish to express our gratitude for the efforts of the firefighters who worked tirelessly to bring this massive blaze under control,” Plato added.

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