They know the drill: Cape communities unite to halt the fire

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They know the drill: Cape communities unite to halt the fire

Well-prepared Cape Town residents make important contribution to protecting their houses as the blaze crept closer

Senior features writer

Three weeks ago, a community on the slopes of Devil’s Peak had a fire drill. Two weeks ago, they went on high alert as the city dried out. On Monday morning, the raging mountain fire, which ignited 24 hours earlier, leapt within 30 metres of their homes but their efforts — together with the city’s firefighters — helped save them.

Nazeem Ebrahim, an elderly member of University Estate, said: “I have lived in this community for more than 55 years. The firefighters and emergency services play an important role, but we are used to looking after ourselves.

“We have about 40 volunteers and four fire stations with our own hoses, and we have been fighting the fire since six this morning,” he said, gesturing at the dripping fire hose and hydrant at his feet. Smoke and ash swirled down into the street...

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