Friday, January 27, 2006

British yob sets fire to Table Mountain?

Cape Town at this time of the year is always hot and can be very windy. Fires on the mountain are a common occurrence. Usually they're easy to get under control but sometimes they rage for days and threaten houses on the slopes. A really bad one swept across the mountain over the past few days and has destroyed a few houses and killed a British tourist.

The visible impact of the fire will probably be there for a long time to come even though annual fires are, to some extent, desirable, as they release the seeds of a lot of indigenous vegetation. That's all well and good for rural areas but fires of that nature in an urban area tend to do more harm than good. Cape Town residents are constantly being reminded not to drop cigarette ends or burning matches where there's any chance of a fire taking hold. But, accidents happen. This time, however, the fire appears to have been started deliberately.

A British man has been arrested and appears in court today.

Click on the pictures for links to the story.

The BBC has some spectacular photos of the fire.


Blogger kyknoord said...

Have you ever tried to light a fire with a cigarette? It's no easy task.

11:10 am  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Guess he won't be showing off his holiday pictures.
This is prolly just hearsay, but apparently he saw the fire start up and tried to run away.
KN's is correct, it is difficult to start a fire with a cig, but the right conditions are all that is needed.

11:28 am  
Blogger CTG said...

Yeah - it is terrible, this fire here by us. It was pretty windy yesterday, when it flared up. Captonians are supposed to be on alert during the summer months because of the heat and the wind. Why would some silly person go and try to start a fire deliberatly and threaten homes and people? Silly! His holiday didn't turn out to be so fun.

12:18 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

Sounds like a nasty mistake - and all the more likely from someone used to a wet country where these things are much less frequent.

He is lucky to be alive...

12:30 pm  
Blogger xmichra said...

That happens all the time up north (northern canada).. and it is senseless. It's destuctive and it is just sad. Hope the guy gets a heafty charge, if it was malicious.

11:34 pm  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

What is a 'yob'? Or 'yobbo'? I asked a friend living in England but she didn't tell me.

I once had a neighbour from Germany who was a little boy pyromaniac. Mostly neglected, poor thing. My mother used to take pity on him.

1:37 pm  
Blogger andrea said...

Word of the Day: the only context I've ever seen/heard the word lucre in is "filthy lucre".

Interesting about the fires on Table Mounain. We have a similar problem here in that we live right next to a massive, protected peat bog: the largest urban bog in the world I think. Last summer it caught fire again and raged for weeks, wiping out hundreds of hectares. Air quality in both places would be more seriously compromised if these sites weren't close to the ocean, like the inland forest fires we experience.

3:52 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

I'm sure that it was a nasty mistake, it's not the sort of thing someone, particularly a tourist, would do deliberately. Apparently he was seen flicking his cigarette butt out the window near where the fire started. I think he appears in court again at the end of March.

What a terrible burden it will be if it was him and it was all an innocent mistake.

guyana gyal: a 'yob' is a young lout who causes mischief. It's a UK slang term but it's been around for a long time. Yobbo is the same thing. The guardian has this 'Are you a yob?' quiz:,5961,408093,00.html

It's a bit silly and you're meant to be of school-going age or just over. I scored 12: You work hard and play hard, and manage to keep your anti-social behaviour in check most of the time.

Mmmmm... I like to think that I don't have anti-social behaviour and, if I do, that I keep it in check ALL the time!

9:40 pm  
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Blogger pedro velasquez said...

The area now known as Fire Mountain Scout bet basketball Reservation was settled and farmed by William Gaches from La Connor in the early 1900's. He built the farmhouse and farmed 300 acres, planting the orchard as well as hay in the field which is now Lake Challenge. In the early 50's the land was sold to Lloyd Nelson who raised beef cattle on the property. sportsbook In 1971, the 300 acres owned by the Nelson's, as well as an additional 140 acres of the neighboring Walking M Ranch, were aquired (see Aquisition of Camp) by the Evergreen Area Council. The 440 acres were named Fire Mountain Scout Reservation by Council Scouter Bob Overstreet who, as a young man, march madness had fought one of several fires on Cultus Mountain. See How Fire Mountain got it's name. Hundreds of volunteers as well as the Army Reserve, Navy Seabees, and Marine Reserves worked frantically to turn the hay fields into the beautiful 37 acre Lake Challenge.

10:46 pm  

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