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Firefighters Battle Raging Fires at One of South Africa’s Key Attractions

People were evacuated from Cape Town neighbourhoods on Monday as a huge wildfire sweeping across the slopes of the city’s famed Table Mountain was fanned by high winds and threatened homes. City authorities said residents of suburbs on the mountain slopes were now being evacuated as a “precautionary” measure. The mayor described the fire, which has so far destroyed more than 400 hectares (990 acres) of vegetation in the Table Mountain National Park, as one of the biggest in the city’s recent history. The fire started early on Sunday morning on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, another part of Cape Town’s mountainous backdrop, forcing University of Cape Town students to evacuate residences as runaway flames set several campus buildings ablaze, including a library housing historic books and scripts. Other properties damaged include the popular hikers’ restaurant at Rhodes Memorial and the thatch-roofed Mostert’s Mill, built around 1796 and South Africa’s oldest working mill. “It is not only the historic buildings themselves that have been lost, but their contents and collections,” said the Cape Town Heritage Trust in a statement.