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Addo: Fire Reports

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra

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Patto
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Addo: Fire Reports

Unread postby Patto » Wed Aug 13, 2008 1:32 pm

Hi all,

I read in the Herald (PE local paper) this morning that "vast tracts of indigenous vegatation were destroyed in the Addo Elephant National Park" by a fire. :cry: :cry: :cry:

The report continues: "Meanwhile, Addo rangers have their hands full monitoring a veld fire that has been raging since Sunday. Park spokesman Megan Taplin said the fire flared in the northern area of the park in the vicinity of the Zuurberg.

The blaze has destroyed vast areas of indigenous vegetation, and Taplin added that small animals like tortoises might have been killed or injured.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but Taplin believes that hot, dry and windy conditions in the area over the last couple of days played a role.

“We are monitoring the fire closely to ensure that it does not put anyone in danger or damage any infrastructure,” until it had burnt itself out, Taplin added.

The fire apparently came close to the historic Zuurberg Hotel, but rangers managed to prevent it from causing any damage.

The owner of the hotel, Henri Alant, confirmed the incident and added that the park was quick to assist.

Because of relatively strong wind in the area, the local disaster management team and fire department are also keeping a close eye on things." report ends.

My question to Megan is, what is the status of the fire at the moment and what sort of "vast damage" has been caused.

Thanks and kind regards,
Pat :D
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Unread postby G@mespotter » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:16 am

I heared on the news very early this morning that some accomodation in Addo was also burned down yesterday night....
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Unread postby Addo Elephant » Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:05 am

A fire has been raging in the Zuurberg Mountain area of Addo Elephant National Park since Sunday afternoon, 10 August.

The fire started on the Zuurberg Mountain Village property adjoining the Park but rapidly spread into the Park. The cause of the fire has not been established.

The fire, which is still blazing, has burnt an estimated 7 000 hectares of fynbos and grassland vegetation in the mountainous areas of the Park. Park rangers, assisted by Cacadu District fire teams and Working on Fire teams have been battling the blaze since Sunday. Extremely dry conditions and strong winds have hampered their efforts and the situation has been exacerbated by frequent changes in wind direction.

None of the Park's tourist or staff accommodation or infrastructure has been affected. The Addo rest camp, main game area and Camp Matyholweni are unaffected.

Visitors were evacuated from Narina Bush Camp yesterday afternoon as a safety precaution, although the fire has not reached the area in which the bush camp is located.

The Zuurberg Mountain Village, which is a private business located on the borders of the Park has sustained considerable damage, losing 31 chalets to the fire.

Visitors to the Addo Elephant National Park will not be affected, apart from the fact that they will not be able to participate in the hiking trails and guided horse trails in the Zuurberg Mountains. The situation at Narina Bush Camp will be monitored closely.

Although the cause of the fire is unknown, fire is a naturally occurring phenomenon in fynbos and grassland ecosystems and is vital for the long-term maintenance of the vegetation. The efforts of rangers and others assisting with fire fighting have therefore been focused on containing the fire to prevent it from endangering the lives of people or destroying infrastructure.

Smaller animals such as tortoises, snakes and rodents have probably been affected by the fire but there have been no reports yet of deaths of large animals such as eland, kudu and red hartebeest.
Last edited by Addo Elephant on Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Megan Taplin
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Addo Elephant » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:29 pm

The fire is now finally out and it looks like we might get some rain, which is much needed. :pray:

Here are some images from the fire:
Tuesday night
Image

Taken this morning (misty conditions)
Image

In some areas, the fire was very hot and has probably affected the soil
Image

Smouldering termite mound
Image

Weary rangers
Image
Megan Taplin
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Addo Elephant » Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:17 pm

Its raining here - and pretty solidly too - hooray :dance:

I think the last time we had rain was in May sometime and not much of it. This really has been a very dry period.
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Apple » Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:45 pm

Briliiant. :lol: :) :D :clap: :dance: :thumbs_up:
Long may the rain be with us. We certainly need it. I spoke to some HR's in the park on Sunday and they said that it is the driest it has been in 50 years. Can you confirm this?
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Addo Elephant » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:08 am

driest it has been in 50 years


That is certainly what is being said in the area, by farmers etc who live around Addo. We can't confirm this as none of park management has been around here for 50 years but it certainly seems true. For example, the rainfall for the months of April to June 2008 was 36mm which is much lower than the long-term average (average taken over the past 10 years) for those 3 months of 78.6mm. Last year's rainfall (Apr 07 to Mar 08) was 383 mm compared to the long-term average for the same period of 427.2 mm so also a dry year.
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby billyf » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:06 pm

Megan, glad to hear about the rain - any idea how much you had - especially in the burnt areas ??

Should provide some lovely spring growth for the smaller animals.
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Addo Elephant » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:15 am

We had about 28mm down at the main camp and about 50mm up on the Zuurberg on Friday. Hopefully we'll get a bit more sometime soon.
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Jeanv » Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:15 pm

Hi,

How did the fire affect the Mvubu Camp site area? We have 5 days there end of September...

Rgds
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Addo Elephant » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:35 pm

Hi Jean,

The fire did not affect Mvubu campsite at all and did not come close to the Kabouga area of the Park.

Enjoy your visit!
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Re: Fire in Addo

Unread postby Addo Elephant » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:26 am

We have had another huge fire in the Zuurberg Mountains. This one started on Sunday 14 September and burnt until Tuesday 23 September. It was started by lightning and has probably burnt about 15 000 hectares of grassland and fynbos in the Zuurberg Mountains from Zuurberg section to Kabouga and alomost over to the Darlington side.

Image

For the most part, the fire burnt in very inaccessible areas of the Park so not much could be done to curb it, especially since there were strong winds over this time. Fire is a natural occurence in these areas though and the grassland and fynbos needs it to regenerate.

Image

Most of our ranger's efforts were focussed on assisting farmers on the borders of the Park to prevent the fire spreading onto their land. None of the Park infrastructure or accommodation facilities were affected.

Image
Megan Taplin
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