12 – 18 February 2018
The week behind us has proven to be another busy one with hundreds of outdoor users being tracked. Here are some of the incidents that were attended to.
On Monday afternoon, a member of our Paragliding Tracking group reported a fire on the lower slopes of Lion’s Head, just above the residential area on the Clifton side.
Fire Services were in attendance, and we put in a request for the traffic department to manage the road which was congested as a result.
A safety alert was put out to inform hikers of the situation, as well as pilots of the paragliding fraternity. The fire was successfully taken care of by the on scene fire crews.
Later on in the afternoon, we were asked by the Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) whether we were tracking any hikers in the Northern section of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). VWS were receiving reports of smoke blowing down into the Camps Bay area from Table Mountain (TM).
We contacted pax who were on Lion’s Head, Platteklip Gorge and India Venster who had earlier checked in via our system. We asked them whether they saw and/or smelt any smoke in the area. They confirmed smoke, however, no flames were spotted.
This was relayed to VWS, and the alert was withdrawn when it was discovered that the smoke was from a fire somewhere to the south east of TMNP.
On Tuesday afternoon, a regular trackee asked whether he should rather wait for the pending lightning to pass, before he commenced his trail run up Platteklip Gorge. We advised him that it was best to wait it out. Once he set off, he was also able to provide an update re a “walk out” rescue that was being executed by members of the volunteer Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) team, halfway up the gorge.
Later in the evening, one of our members on the Paragliding Tracking team reported that there were two small fires, one on Devil’s Peak, and the other on the front face of Table Mountain.
This was as a result of the lightning. The necessary services where then notified.
On Wednesday morning, again from the Paragliding Safety team, a report of a different fire lower down on Devil’s Peak was received.
The necessary services were once again informed.
On Thursday afternoon, a trackee who was routing up Skeleton Gorge on his way to the Upper Cable Station (UCS), did an update check in at the ladders. This area can be a bit hazardous due to the slippery moss, as this section of the gorge is mostly in the shade which renders it very moist. A couple of minutes later, he messaged again. Thinking that there may be an incident, we examined his message.
Funnily enough, he posted a picture of mature male Himalayan Tahr. There is an unknown number of these animals which are alien to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the continent for that matter, still roaming around in the park.
It is the first time that I learn of a sighting this far south.
Please click here for an article by Ridgway Ramblers.
On Saturday morning we learnt of another violent mugging attack on Noordhoek Beach.
The assailant escaped and the victims required medical treatment as well.
The CoCT is drilling for water into Table Mountain aquifer at the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak. This work creates dust and water spray which looks like smoke when viewed from a distance. The authorities are receiving loads of reports of wild fires in the area, which after investigation proves to the the drilling site.
Should you wish to report any wildfires, please take a photograph and forward that with your complaint when reporting. This will not only assist the authorities as far a location and wind direction goes, they will also be able to clarify whether it is indeed a wildfire or not.
Having said that, a false alarm is much better than no alarm.
We thank all the members who were involved with these incidents, and we continue to pledge our support to outdoor users in the name of safety.
Be out and be safe.