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 Post subject: Fires
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:06 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:29 am
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Location: Benoni, East Rand
Hello everyone

Just a few weeks back we did the redeye to KNP. Stayed at Tamboti for three nights. That was wonderful except that I was so cold and there's this darned lion that performs non-stop from about midnite straight thru every night. I dont know what his story is but it's a bit unnerving for me being a city boy and all. But he carries on and you maar knyp until it's light because I'm not walking through that bush to the ablutions in the dark with that guy shouting the odds.

But anyway, what I wanted to ask is what is it with all the black veld. All around Orpen and way into the Park, the veld was just burned black. And most of it seemed freshly burned and there were a few places where green sprouts were popping up. And there you had some animals eating a bit. But for the most part it was just burned grass and bushes. It seems the trees get a bit damaged but they stay alive. The bigger ones anyway. And my wife actually said to me but we came 500 KM to see what we can see around Benoni. Now, I know that isnt quite true but I swear I didnt have an answer for her.


Is this controlled burning? I said to my wife that maybe it was. And she says but I've just been talking to her about the little animals which we are going to see and where will we start to look for them. Do the people drive around and pick up animals so that they dont get burnt? Heck, I dont know!

Cheers Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Fires
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
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Hi Ed

Probably controlled burns, but no way of definitely knowing without confirmation from Kruger.

We have a very interesting topic on the forums on burning in Kruger - link. The reasons, etc are given there.

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 Post subject: Re: Fires
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:22 pm 
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If it was a fairly even edge to the burnt area then chances are it was a controlled burn. No they don't move all the small creatures out but a controlled burn is usually low intensity and slow so many creatures will smell it and move long before it gets to them. They do do sweeps for the larger animals before hand.

Being on the edge of a burn is quite interesting. The insects swarm and you will see flocks of rollers, hornbills, starlings etc having a banquet. Look further in and you may see secretary birds seeking out fleeing snakes.

Afterwards, yes it's black. But usually not too long before the grass is rejuvenated and because there isn't the dense vegetation you actually get a better chance of spotting something.

We have got a topic on burning somewhere... ah DB to the rescue.

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 Post subject: Re: Fires
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:30 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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OK thanks folks. About the predatory birds, I see in the veld across the road from my home that the herons patrol up and down along the burn picking up things trying to escape the fire. I didnt know there were so many of them around here.


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 Post subject: Re: Fires
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:57 am 
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And I presume that there is a specific time of the year when it is best to do the burning. And that is pretty much the time that I can get to the Park. That is sad. Because I really dont want to go and see burnt veld. And I've said before that I'm not the typicla "big-fiver". So to go because there is more chance of getting clear views of animals doesnt get me going. But why am I harping on this? Because just last night I was talking to my wife and she said if I'm off to look at burnt veld again next year, then I must just plan for myself. And that pretty much takes it all away ne?

But considering the relatively small patch of land that we have left for nature, this sort of thing has to be done. Oh nuts!! You people just wont believe what sort of bamboozelry I have to get up to in order to get a bit of cooperation here.


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 Post subject: Re: Fires
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:09 am 
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Yes it is a good time of year, it clears the dry vegetation that could provide fuel for spot fires later in the year.

SANParks have a broad idea of where they want to set fires but it would be impossible to publish a schedule as many things dictate if/when they can burn - weather being the main one but other operational activity could intervene.

Good news is that they are unlikely to burn in the same area in consecutive years. Plus the burn areas are not too widespread. It is easy to drive past them and find untouched bush.

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 Post subject: Re: Fires
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 12:04 pm 
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Thanks Saraf. Yes, far be of it for me to expect that the conservation effort will fit into my schedule. So, these things must happen and they will and it will be good for all I reckon.


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 Post subject: Re: Fires
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:16 pm 
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It just goes to show the very delicate balancing act between conservation and tourism that SANParks have to manage.

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