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Cape Town’s fire bill

The fire that is currently raging across the southern Peninsual mountains in Cape Town has cost the city R3m so far and is expected to rise.

The majority of the costs comes from keeping at least two helicopters in air at a time. According to the city’s executive director of safety and security Richard Bosman, it costs R45,000 an hour to keep the helicopters flying.

“This is costing us an enormous amount of money,” Bosman said in a Cape Argus report.

A SANParks spokesperson said that so far four helicopters, two water bombers and a spotter plane had been used in the firefighting operation. The various teams had logged about 198 flying hours since Sunday and had dropped about 2 million litres of water on the fires. The spokesperson said that the flying costs, so far, came to R2.4m.

The fire had thus far destroyed 3,000 hectares of land, wiping out the vegetation in the Silvermine section of the Table Mountain National Park. Thirteen homes have reportedly been destroyed by the fires. The cost of the damage is not yet known.

The fire started near Boyes Drive above Muizenberg on Sunday and rapidly spread to Noordhoek, Hout Bay, Tokai and is threatening parts of Constantia as well.

It is hoped that the cooler, wet weather predicted for Wednesday will help to bring the fires under control.

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