Tuesday night brought a shocking wildfire to the City of Cape Town. Starting at around 8.30pm just above UCT and Rhodes Memorial on the slopes of Table Mountain, a fire broke out and raced around Devil’s Peak towards the city bowl, destroying hundreds of hectares of fynbos en route. It reached right up to the top of Devil’s Peak itself and right down to the edge of the city bowl residential areas of Vredehoek, High Cape and Devil’s Peak Estate. Many residents were evacuated in the middle of the night for fear of losing their homes, but no houses were damaged in the end. The cause of the fire still unknown, but there are suspicions of arson, as with many of the other fires that have happened during the summer around the Cape.
The organisers of the Cape Epic, the legendary mountain bike stage race, must have had some very worried moments during the fire. For the first time in the event’s 6 year history, the organisers have made a bold move and decided to start the race on the slopes of Table Mountain! Watching it creep around the mountain during the night, they must have been sweating, seeing their carefully planned Prologue course being eaten up by flames. The good news though, is that the Prologue will go ahead as planned on the same route tomorrow (Saturday 21 March) so get out there and support the 1200 riders who will be on the course, vying for the yellow jersey. For more info on the race and where it is happening, see the Cape Epic website:
The fire now seems to be under control, after some legendary work by Cape Town’s fearless land-based firefighters, and helicopter pilots who water-bombed the fire in the higher and most inaccesible areas of the mountain. They also managed to keep the flare-ups and hotspots under control during the days that followed the initial blaze.
This year’s Cape Epic race will be centered in the Overberg region, rather than the traditional trek from Knysna to Cape Town. So Day 2 will start in Gordon’s Bay and head up and over the Hottentot’s Holland Mountains to Villiersdorp. From there the riders will have to tackle a loop course in the area, then Day 4 will end in Greyton, then a loop course in the area. Day 6 will take them to Oak Valley near Grabouw, another local loop course and the final stage back to Lourensford Estate in Somerset West. There will be plenty of places nearby Cape Town to spectate, and it will be well worth it with a world class field taking part in the event. See website for details. There will also be daily highlights broadcast on TV on SuperSport each night during the event.