We thought it was all over. The skies had cleared, we could breathe properly again and the ash that whirled around like snowflakes seemed to have settled after some gentle, welcome rain. Then Hell’s furnace erupted again.
Barely a day after firefighters stopped the blazes that ran rampant across the Southern Peninsula for four days, more fire broke out, this time at Cape Point, Cape Town’s southernmost extremity. As if on cue, the wind picked up reaching galeforce by evening and fanned the blaze across more precious hectares of fynbos and nature reserve. Weary firefighters and volunteers were pulled back into the fray. Out at sea behind Kommetjie lighthouse, a long trail of smoke blowing from Cape Point resembled a low cloud bank, which looked like an angry bruise as the sun set over the ocean. It was strangely beautiful, despite the tragic circumstances. Behind me, as the fire rescue choppers returned to base before nightfall marred their visibility, Noordhoek and Hout Bay recovered from four days of flames that saw properties damaged and families temporarily evacuated.