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Friday, March 6, 2015

fire rages in mountains of Cape Town ~ fiery Dale Steyn thanks fighters

South Africa are keeping their most precious object as safe as possible in this World Cup.  Pace spearhead Dale Steyn bowled largely off a short run-up in an extensive, four-hour training session, after bowling just seven overs in the first warm-up match and being rested for the second. Despite Steyn's seeming lack of activity, team management have stubbed out suggestions he is injured and explained they are simply saving him for when they need him most.  So far he has had an ordinary WC by his standards, his figures reading 1/64 (Vs Zimbabwe); 1/55 (against India); 1/24 against West Indies and 2/39 against Ireland.

There is news of raging fire in Cape Town’s South Peninsula for a fourth day with firefighters trying to contain the blaze on Chapman’s Peak, Noordhoek and in Tokai forest, near some of South Africa’s oldest wine farms. Cape Town  is the second-most populous city in South Africa,  after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape.  As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country.  The city is famous for its harbour, for its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.  In 2014, Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both The New York Times and The Telegraph. Cape Town was first developed by the Dutch East India Company as a  supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East.

With more  than 100 South African firefighters are battling wildfires on the mountains around Cape Town, people of the Cape have been evacuated to safety.  Thousands of hectares of vegetation have been reduced to ashes on Chapman's Peak, while several homes and a holiday lodge have been destroyed. More than 50 people - residents of a retirement home - have been treated for smoke inhalation, officials say. The fire started on Sunday and was fanned by strong winds, causing it to spread rapidly. Dense, dark smoke can still be seen rising from the mountain. Roads in the area have been closed because of poor visibility. BBC reports that 4  helicopters are on the scene, water-bombing the area. Such fires are common in the area from November to May, when weather conditions are hot and windy, but it has been hotter than usual in recent weeks. According to BBC, this is the worst wildfire in the region for many years.

Down under, the fiery Dale Steyn, the fast bowler playing for South Africa, praised firefighters who saved his Cape Town mountain home from the devastating flames which have engulfed one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.

An estimated 3,000 hectares of land have been destroyed, according to local media, with helicopters dropping water bombs on to the flames as exhausted fire crew struggled to extinguish the huge blaze, which has been exacerbated by temperatures of over 40 degrees. Steyn, in New Zealand and Australia for the World Cup, said he received several calls warning that homes in Stonehurst would have to be evacuated. "It wasn't easy. I was in Canberra and I left my phone on silent that night," said Steyn.   "I had like 80 messages or something and 30 missed calls. So I quickly jumped on it and realized the fires were a lot closer to my home than initially thought. "The scariest part came about 3:30 in the morning in Cape Town. I don't know what time it was in Canberra. But the people looking after my house called me and said, listen, you've got five minutes, we're evacuating." Steyn said he was asked by the authorities what he wanted saved in his house.

"'What do you want us to take out of your house?' I've never been more scared in my life," said Steyn. "I am sitting halfway across the world, and everything that I've ever earned or gotten in my life, every wicket, every ball, every bit of clothing in my 31 years is in that house.  Steyn praised the firefighters for a remarkable rescue. "Yeah, just tremendous job by all those firefighters and the volunteers that put their lives at risk and never met me before, never met most of the people. "They were just kind of like throwing themselves at it and putting out those fires." Steyn said former team-mate Jacques Kallis's house was also hit by fire. "Jacques' house, his lawn was on fire. If I was at home I'd dive straight into it and do what I can to help. It really is terrible. "A lot of animals, pets, homes, nobody should go through that kind of stuff. It's a pretty tough time back home right now."

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

6th Mar 2015.

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