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South Africa Wildfire That Burned University of Cape Town Library is Under Control

21 Apr 2021 11:44 AM | Anonymous

NOTE: This is a follow-up to an earlier article, University of Cape Town (South Africa) Library Destroyed by Fire, published two days ago at

A wildfire that burned vast areas of Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain, historical landmarks and a university library that houses priceless collections of African antiquities was largely under control late Monday, and evacuees were allowed to return to their homes in the area.

The fire was about 70 to 80 percent contained, although there was a danger it could flare up again because of strong winds, said Philip Prins, fire manager for Table Mountain National Park. The blaze began Sunday morning near the memorial to colonial leader Cecil Rhodes and quickly spread uncontrolled beneath Devil’s Peak in the national park, in an area popular with weekend hikers and cyclists.

By Monday, winds approaching 30 mph had pushed the fire toward densely populated areas above downtown Cape Town, forcing the evacuation of residents living along some edges of the park. Well-known tourist sites such as the Table Mountain aerial cableway and the nearby Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden were temporarily closed.

“The library is our greatest loss,” the university’s vice chancellor, Mamokgethi Phakeng, told a local radio station. “Some of these cannot be replaced by insurance, and that is a sad day for us.”

It is believed that very few of the items in the library have been duplicated by electronic methods and saved elsewhere.

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