Cape Town fire: Suspected cause identified as “people cooking” on Lion’s Head

Cooking utensils were found at the scene of the Cape Town fire, and city official JP Smith believes this was the root cause of the blaze.

The blazing inferno which ripped its way across Signal Hill and Lion’s Head on Sunday may have been caused by people attempting to cook on the mountainside. That’s according to Mayco Safety and Security official JP Smith, who carried out an inspection at the location of the Cape Town fire earlier on Tuesday.

Smith concluded that cooking utensils were found at the scene, which nestles just above Quarry Hill Road in Tamboerskloof. The fire also made its way down towards Sea Point, and spread with such ferocity that some locals made a premature decision to evacuate their homes.

Cape Town fire: “Cooking” blamed for wildfires

Arson has been ruled out by the City of Cape Town, and representatives suspect that no foul play is responsible for the extensive damage caused by the flames. Luckily, no residential properties were affected by the apocalyptic scenes that unfolded over the weekend, but vegetation and hiking trails in the area have been decimated.

In fact, the Lion’s Head route – which was due to re-open on 15 February following routine maintenance – has now been closed indefinitely, as the Cape Town fire caused more damage to the already-strained paths.

Extent of the damage on Lion’s Head

Roughly 160 hectares of land has been scorched by the blaze, which managed to get to within 100 metres of properties in Tamboerskloof. No deaths have been recorded, but one man is being treated in hospital after he suffered 45% burns when the fire was out of control on Sunday night.

Firefighting crews managed to contain the blaze by Monday, and barring an occasional flare-up, they quelled the raging inferno that captured the attention of media outlets worldwide. Thankfully, the windy conditions that initially helped the fire spread died down late on Sunday.