East Fort was a casualty of the great fire which stretched from Simon’s Town to Constantia Nek in 2000, At the lower battery (above), the gun carriages were destroyed including much of the vegetation together with several mature pines. Whilst the damage at the middle precincts was minimal and restricted to fynbos, the damage at the upper precincts was more severe and included the loss of the old forester’s cottage owned by the DPW which was occupied by tenants at the time.
One reason for the damage was the intrusion of large gum trees (seen below) which had been allowed to encroach the cottage (Red roof) and the historic buildings . Most of the remaining trees were subsequently cut down by the Park to reduce further fire risks. However, since the 2000 fire and the fact that the cottage is no longer occupied by legitimate tenants, fires have reoccurred caused by irresponsible vagrants who light fires close to the ruined buildings irrespective of the fact that there is no water readily available to extinguish them.
After the fire in 2000 that swept through the Fort. The only traces of the two gun carriages (above) was a pile of metal fittings which held the poorly constructed and unauthentic previous carriages together made from railway sleepers c.1929. The guns were not on their original ‘platforms’ Previous to 1947 only one gun would have been located at this “North traversing platform”.
The solution to reducing fires is to have an on-site presence to be able to monitor the activities of people who visit the area. This can only be done with a sustainable business plan which will fund the maintenance and surveillance needed. The HBHA feels this can be achieved.