AFB Ysterplaat fire section helps stop Table Mountain blaze


Cape Town’s SA Air Force (SAAF) base at Ysterplaat put in extra effort at the weekend as fire hit Table Mountain with a team from the base’s fire section putting down more than 30 000 litres of water in a nine hour period.

A SAAF statement has it firefighters at Air Force Base (AFB) Ysterplaat were tasked to assist in firefighting operations on the iconic mountain at the weekend on short notice. The assistance was provided in terms of Operation Chariot, an ongoing SA National Defence Force (SANDF) tasking to provide disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

After midday on Sunday, City of Cape Town fire crews were alerted to the fire and tried to contain it, but their efforts were hampered by strong gusting winds. The fire spread to Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.

As the fire escalated, at approximately 20h00 Chief Fire Officer of AFB Ysterplaat was alerted by the Acting Officer Commanding Lieutenant Colonel Jonker Kyle to be on standby for possible response.

Within 30 minutes of the go-ahead from the SAAF Command Post in Pretoria a five-strong team of Ysterplaat firefighters embarked for the Tafelberg Road area with an Atego Hazmat vehicle and commenced firefighting which was to last all night. Their efforts assisted in containing the fire which had spread to Lion’s Head and Signal Hill.

The first team on site recorded 150 minutes of pump time and used more than 30 000 litres of water. They were relieved at 07:00 by another Ysterplaat firefighting team, this one four-strong.

The first team deployed was sergeants Wayne Wood, Neil Kirkwood, Shafiek Judd, Wayne Human, Samuel Mars. They and the replacement team (sergeants Cyril Lackey, Nicky Everson, Roual Splinter and Ashraf Madatt) were thanked for their efforts by the base acting officer commanding .

A 22 Squadron Oryx medium transport helicopter was on standby to provide aerial firefighting and evacuation assistance if needed.