The City of Cape Town says its fire teams have responded to over 13,000 incidents between October  2023 and January 2024.

This is marked an increase of more than 10% from the year before.

Of the total number of blazes recorded during this period, 55% of them were vegetation fires.

There’s a drop in shack and formal residential fires.

A review of statistics for the Fire and Rescue Service over the past four years between October and January shows the following in key categories:

  Oct 2020 – Jan 2021 Oct 2021 – Jan 2022 Oct 2022 – Jan 2023 Oct 2023 – Jan 2024
Overall incidents 9 696 10 581 11 691 13 087
Vegetation fires 5 372 5 331 6 029 7 190
Informal residential fires 623 841 882 851
Formal residential fires 542 685 719 699

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith says a probe is underway to determine if there’s malicious intent to start some of these fires.

“And, while investigations continue to determine whether some of the fires we’ve experienced were set deliberately, the response to date speaks volumes about the City’s ability to handle adversity. We are not out of the woods yet, but I want to commend everyone involved in what has been one of the busiest periods from a firefighting perspective”.

“Structural fires remain a big concern. The increases over the past three years came at a time of increased frequency and stages of load-shedding, but we also face ongoing challenges like illegal electricity connections, human error or negligence, and an increase in incidents where bystanders interfere with firefighters. Numerous City departments are involved in ongoing fire safety education and awareness initiatives, with hundreds of interventions each year. We urge residents to do as much as they can to mitigate the risk of fire in their homes or communities”. added Smith.