Wildfire on the Peninsula December 2023: Armageddon

December 23, 2023
Intense December 2023 Wildfires Cape Town

Armageddon on the Cape Peninsula: Wildfire Fires December 2023

On Tuesday the 19th of December, the south peninsula of Cape Town experienced the city’s biggest wildfire of the year. Which has sadly spread over thousands of hectares. Despite, ongoing worries about a potential abrupt shift in wind direction. Our brave firefighters were working the fire line on Friday. It felt like the end of the world as we looked out of our windows, the valley was a plume of orange smoke and in the distance, a red sun hung above the seas.

There are flares ups as I write this, and I can hear the Helicopters at work to extinguish these flames. The helicopters fly low over your home, the house vibrates. It is jarring.ย  Without a doubt, the true heroes are the woman and men that fought the blaze. From the Commander in charge to the spotter plane to the helicopters queuing for water. And finally, to the souls that were on the mountains by foot, stamping out the relentless sparks caused from the 60kms winds. To the fire trucks that were racing from pillar to post, co ordinating this massive operation for us. For our homes, for life, for our nature and wildlife. Cape Town is so lucky to have a competent council that took charge. So, rapidly!

I have always respected fire fighters but must tell you, after being in the middle of this fire, I have found a new love for these courageous people. As we had a command station in our cul-de-sac, I got to spend time with these cheerful men and woman. Making endless coffees. Trying to remember how many sugars, who takes milk and who does not. Eventually, hugging them all! Yet, during all of this, we were on standby to evacuate.

There is nothing more precious than life. Everything else is replaceable. When you must leave your home and flee for safety there is no time for sentimental urges. They instruct you to pack clothing for one night, medication, important documents, and animals. I thought I knew my husband after 13 years.

However, when he reversed his car to our front door. I was shocked as he started packing his school blazers, awards, his late fathers clothing, bags of his childhood. The special things that are important to him. I love him and I respect him for that.

Albeit, jolting me into a frenzy of packing all my most important Buddha (collected through my travels), a hand painted Buddha gift from my mother that could not fit into the car. But then reality hit me. I walked into every room and took my last look of my life. And let it go. Grabbed my photography, hard drive, medication, and cats. The rest was history.

Thankfully, the wind changed, so many times. We never had to leave but were on standby to evacuate. So, it all stayed in the car. Sadly, our neighbourhoods around us where evacuating.ย  Recently I decided to take a break from Facebook, but watching the messages of hope, love, and support from everyone. Even to complete strangers offering to take families in and their pets for overnight. I was very emotional at the pure kindness and do believe there are so many good than bad.

We need to learn from these experiences, we need to be kinder, more patience and help where you can.ย  Get stuck in, make sandwiches, drop off food at the drop of stations for these courageous humans that are in the frontline of heat, fire, and endless smoke.

Personally, I think as we celebrated the Bokke for winning the World Cup we need to thank these fire fighters & engine operators, helicopters, woman and men. They should drive through the affected areas so we can all salute them.

Here are some pics taken by my Iphone as I had no time to get out my camera!


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