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Hundreds evacuated from wildfire


Firemen battle a blaze near Cape Town. (AP)

Firemen battle a blaze near Cape Town. (AP)

Firemen battle a blaze near Cape Town. (AP)

About 500 people have fled their homes in Cape Town as a wildfire defied rain and firefighters for a fourth day.

Three homes were destroyed and five more were damaged overnight by the fire that illuminated the night sky around Table Mountain National Park in a red and orange glow, a South Africa emergency spokeswoman said.

Residents camped in a community centre overnight or were taken in by family friends. Those who could returned to their homes by the afternoon, said Cape Town disaster risk management spokeswoman Charlotte Powell.

The fire was still not under control, but firefighters had enough resources to manage the burn, said another spokesman, Theo Layne. No fatalities or new injuries had been reported, he said.

About 150 firefighters are working 24-hour shifts in hot summer temperatures, Mr Layne said. Residents were hopeful that predicted rain would end the blaze, but Mr Layne said the short-lived showers were not enough to quell the fire.

"We had some rain but it was not enough to change the situation," he said. The South African Weather Service said Cape Town's temperature reached a high of 29C.

The fire has retreated and been contained to the Tokai Forest and the Clovelly neighborhood, he said. Ms Powell said firefighters were also focusing on the Cape Point and Constantia Nek areas. A number of roads in the southern peninsula remain closed, the South African Press Association reported.

The wildfire started on Sunday and was briefly brought under control, but a bigger fire started early on Monday morning and has continued.