Public urged to follow instructions of firefighting authorities in Simon’s Town | Western Cape Government


Public urged to follow instructions of firefighting authorities in Simon’s Town

20 December 2023

Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning today urged the public to follow instructions from firefighters managing the wildfire in Simon’s Town, which has been burning since Tuesday morning. “We have a strong and professional team on the ground, and we request that the public do not panic and work with us. Our officials will request residents well in advance if they need to evacuate, and all firefighting decisions being made is with the safety of the public as number one priority,” Minister Bredell said.

Firefighting efforts are currently focussed on the flank moving from Castle Rock towards Simon’s Town. The Provincial Disaster Management Centre is availing provincial aerial resources to the Simon’s Town fire. Currently there are 4 Huey helicopters and a spotter plane, as well as an Oryx helicopter from the South African Defence Force, deployed.

Minister Bredell said the importance of a coordinated firefighting approach is again highlighted, as several outfits from different organisations are working together under one command centre in different sectors towards the same goal of safeguarding Simon’s Town. “Staff from Working on Fire, Volunteer Wildfire Services, NCC Environmental Services, the City of Cape Town and SANParks have through last night worked tirelessly to protect people and property until they could be supported with aerial water bombing again since daybreak today,” Minister Bredell said.

Also, while Simonstown is being addressed, several wildfires in the Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) also need attending. Firefighters from CWDM Fire Services, CapeNature, Winelands Fire Protection Association, NCC Environmental Services and aerial resources from Leading Edge has been engaged in active firefighting on several fronts:

  • A fire is burning through dense and inaccessible vegetation along the Berg River in the vicinity of the Berg River Dam outside Franschhoek. Efforts are focused on preventing the spread to farms and nearby infrastructure.
  • A fire in Du Toit’s Kloof outside Paarl is currently mostly contained, with ground crews attending to isolated hot spots, monitoring for flareups, and doing general mopping up work.

The Western Cape Government has budgeted R16m for the current wildfire season. Minister Bredell said the public also plays a critical role in the prevention of wildfires. “Fires due to natural causes, such as lightning strikes or rockfalls, account for less than 3% of all wildfires. The other 97% is caused either intentionally, 25%, or through negligence, 72%. These statistics show the huge role ordinary citizens can play to protect not only our natural environment, but also our personal safety and infrastructure, from runaway wildfires.”

Minister Bredell asked that people report any sighting of a fire as quickly as possible to the closest authorities. “Experience over many years has taught us that the faster the initial response, the better our chances are of successfully controlling a fire before it spirals out of control.”

The following numbers can be contacted to report any fire sightings:

    City of Cape Town: 107 or 021 480 7700 from a cell phone

    Overberg: 028 425 1690

    West Coast: 022 433 8700

    Garden Route: 044 805 5071

    Central Karoo: 023 414 2603

    Cape Winelands: 021 887 4446



Media Enquiries: 

Wouter Kriel

Spokesperson for Minister Anton Bredell

Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning

079 694 3085