The University of Cape Town, UCT, has ordered that all students on its main campus be evacuated by emergency services support staff on Sunday as a runaway wildfire spread onto the campus grounds.
In a statement, after the outbreak of a fire which gutted a section of the Rhodes Memorial restaurant, UCT said students were taken to predetermined locations.
UCT spokesperson Elijah Moholola said reports that the university was evacuating hydrogen tanks from its science labs could not be confirmed.
“We don’t have any info at this point and won’t be getting it any moment soon as teams are working at various aspects of containing the fire. As soon as we are able to share further info, we will do so and respond to specific questions,” he said.
Visuals of UCT students leaving their residences flooded social media with many Cape Town residents offering affected students transport, food and assistance.
The vegetation fire started just above Philip Kgosana Drive on Table Mountain and was soon being fought by three helicopters water-bombing from the air in aid of firefighting crews on the ground from the City of Cape Town, Working on Fire, and Table Mountain National Park.
Several people taking videos of the fire while hiking on the mountain slopes behind Table Mountain described the speed at which the fire was moving.
Videos appeared to show the fire already having reached the University of Cape Town grounds by midday as students evacuated across sports fields under a blanket of thick smoke.