Controlled burns earmarked for certain areas

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) Fire Management Department is in the process of obtaining a burning permit to conduct a number of biodiversity burns, also known as controlled burns, in various sections of the park.

These controlled burns will take place between March and April under favourable weather conditions, with temperatures under 25°C, moderate winds and two to three days after light rain has fallen.

The park acknowledges that such burning is a source of concern to many Cape Town residents therefore it must be stated that the fires will be supervised and managed strictly by the TMNP Fire Department.

In addition, the removal of dry flammable material by means of a prescribed burn will reduce the likelihood of future uncontrolled wildfires. Fynbos vegetation is both fire-prone and fire-adapted and the use of fire forms an integral part of the ecological management of the park.

TMNP Fire Management Department together with the SANParks Cape Research Centre has developed a scientific prescribed burning plan for the entire park – this plan determines and prioritises areas for prescribed burning, taking into consideration issues such as veld age, rare and endangered species, alien clearing.

* The reasons for conducting prescribed burns in fynbos vegetation are:

* To reduce fire hazards by reducing the unnecessary “fuel” accumulated in field as a result of alien plant clearing operations.

* To rejuvenate the fire-adapted and fire-dependent fynbos vegetation.

To form an essential part of control operations aimed at eliminating invasive alien plants.

Weather-permitting, TMNP is planning to undertake prescribed burning:

* Within the Cape Point section

* At Black Hill from Sun Valley to Glencairn

* At Roodeberg in the Capri Village area

* Off Orphen Road, Tokai

* At Constantia Nek

Residents in the adjoining areas of the park should be assured that park management will do their best to minimise any possible inconvenience to adjacent households during the preparatory work and burning operations. Where adjacent properties to the park may be affected by a prescribed burn, park management will make an effort to inform such landowners and residents in good time of the intent to carry out a burn.

When the burn takes place, surrounding residents are advised to please keep their windows shut while burning takes place. Flammable items such as gas canisters should be removed from outside areas and laundry should be taken off washing lines to prevent odour contamination from the smoke.

All owners and occupiers of adjacent properties have a right to lodge written queries/objections to the proposed open burning with the City within seven days after publication. Direct all queries or objections to the City’s Air Pollution Control section on 021 590 5200; via fax to 021 590 5215; or via email to Bronwyn.Davidson@capetown.gov.za

For more information, contact Philip Prins, fire manager: TMNP at 021 689 7438/9 For more information on TMNP, visit www.sanparks.org

* How to tell the difference between a prescribed burn and a wild fire:

It is important to note that a prescribed burn will only ever take place under the conditions as described above. Prescribed burning will never take place on days with strong/gale-force winds, and will not take place over weekends or public holidays. Should you see a fire that does not describe the above conditions, contact the TMNP Fire Management Department at 021 689 7438/9.