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A fire that was started on the slopes of Table Mountain has spread overnight, as strong western winds helped it along.

The fire has caused massive damage on the University of Cape Town’s campus.

EWN reports that the blaze started as a small fire on the slopes of the mountain above Philip Kgosana Drive on Sunday, but blazing heat and gusting winds soon fanned it out of control. By the afternoon, several buildings on and around the campus were on fire.

Approximately 4,000 students have had to be evacuated from the university’s residences, and plans have been made to find alternative accommodation for them.

The Jagger Reading Room was completely gutted, while parts of the university’s Rare African Studies have been lost in the fire.

Residents in the southern suburbs of Cape Town have had to evacuate their homes, and Sanparks spokesperson, Rey Thakhuli, has urged visitors to the Table Mountain National Park not to visit the park until the fire is under control.

JP Smith from the City of Cape Town told eNCA that several calls in rapid succession came in, indicating that witnesses had seen three individuals moving through the bush starting fires.

A 35-year-old individual was detained by a resident and when the law enforcement officials arrived, the man was arrested and a case of arson has been opened against him. It’s believed that the suspect was living in the bush.

Watch the enCA video below for more on this developing story.

Image credit: The South African

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