R10 000 reward to help catch fire starter

A fire on both sides of Ou Kaapseweg resulted in the road being closed for more than two hours.

A R10 000 reward is being offered by Enviro Wildlife Services for information leading to the arrest of the person who started a fire on Ou Kaapseweg two weeks ago.

The mountain pass was closed for more than two hours, in both directions, on Saturday January 22 after vegetation was set alight, burning an area about the size of four rugby fields.

Enviro Wildlife Services is private company contracted by SANParks to investigate all wildfires within the Table Mountain National Park.

The Ou Kaapseweg fire was “definitely a malicious act” because seven small fires had been started in a 1km radius, said the company’s wildfire investigator Rob Erasmus.

He is working through camera footage to determine which cars were in the vicinity when the fire started.

About 80 firefighters, including two seasonal teams from Belhar and Bellville were deployed to the blaze, according to City Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse.

Helicopters water bombed the area, and the fire was extinguished at 4.48pm, he said.

“The swift response of the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service, in collaboration with Table Mountain National Park and Wildland fire volunteers, managed to stop the fire from spreading further,” he said.

Mr Erasmus said the culprit would not be charged with arson, as arson related to buildings and property, but rather with “fire starting” under the National Veld and Forest Fire Act, as well as transgression of a City by-law, and the National Environmental Act, as the area is a national park.

Fires can be reported to 021 590 1900.