Cape Town Fire and Disaster Management College Library, evacuated students

Johannesburg — A wildfire on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town spread to the University of Cape Town, burning the historic campus library and forcing students to evacuate on Sunday.

An orange flame illuminated the window of the library, which houses a significant collection of archives and books, and firefighters sprayed water to extinguish the flame. At least the second floor of the Jaguar Library was burned down, according to local news reports.

Buildings on other campuses also caught fire, burning nearby historic windmills.

According to Cape Town media, a part of the Rhodes Memorial Restaurant ignited on the slopes of Table Mountain off campus, spreading flames across a dry brush.

Over 100 firefighters and rescue workers have been stationed on the university campus and Table Mountain National Park. Four helicopters were used to drop water in threatened areas, officials said.

South African wildfire
On April 18, 2021, a helicopter dropped water on a fire at the Rhodes Memorial in Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa. (Nardus Engelbrecht / AP Photo)

A firefighter was injured and was being treated in a hospital, according to the Cape Town fire department.

Charlotte Powell, a spokeswoman for the city’s Disaster Risk Management Center, said in a statement that residents were warned to be vigilant.

“At this stage, there is no reason to evacuate, but residents should observe the following: close all windows to prevent ventilation and reduce heat, and use hoses or irrigation systems to moisten the garden. “Powell said.

Andrew Meldrum