Media Release: Prescribed burning in Table Mountain National Park due to take place in coming weeks
Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) is in the process of obtaining a burning permit to conduct a number of biodiversity (prescribed) burns in various sections of the Park. Planned for March and April, these prescribed burns take place under very strict conditions and are carefully planned ahead of time.
The precise day for the burn is difficult to predict as it is dependent on the most suitable weather conditions which are then closely monitored day by day during the prescribed burn period. Favourable conditions are generally temperatures under 25°C, moderate winds of less than 20km/hr and 2-3 days after light rain has fallen.
Although we appreciate that such burning is a source of concern to many Cape Town residents, it must be stated that wild fires will occur and an uncontrolled fire or wildfire could pose a huge risk to life and property on the urban edge. 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 prioritizes areas for prescribed burning, taking into consideration veld age, rare and endangered species, alien clearing and proximity to the urban edge. It takes account of which season is best for fynbos to burn, the weather pattern expected for that season, resources required for that particular area and the risks associated with the burn unit.
The reasons for conducting prescribed burns in fynbos vegetation are:
a)To reduce fire hazards by reducing the unnecessary “fuel” accumulated in the field as a result of Alien Plant Clearing operations.
b)To rejuvenate the fire-adapted and fire-dependent fynbos vegetation.
c)To form an essential part of control operations aimed at eliminating invasive alien plants.
Weather-permitting, TMNP is planning to undertake prescribed burning at:
- Klein Leeukoppie in Hout Bay
- Silvermine, between Ou Wapad and Ou Kaapse Weg
- Da Gama Peak, Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope section)
- Cape Point Main Gate to Klaasjagersberg, Cape of Good Hope Section
Residents in the adjoining areas of the park should be assured that prescribed burns are conducted in a professional responsible manner by qualified Park personnel, who will endeavour to ensure minimum inconvenience to adjacent households during the preparatory work as well as burning operations and will inform them timeously of the intent to burn.
During prescribed burns, surrounding residents are advised to please keep their windows shut and take the necessary precautions especially if they suffer from asthma and have pets on the premises. 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 the right to lodge written queries/objections to the proposed open burning with the City by 22 February 2013. Kindly direct all queries or objections to the City’s Air Pollution Control section on Tel: 021 590 1419; via fax to 021 590 1621; or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
For further enquiries, please contact Philip Prins, Fire Manager: TMNP at 021 6897438/9.
For more information on TMNP, please 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 prescribed-burn conditions, please contact the TMNP Fire Management Department at 021 689 7438/9 or the TMNP emergency number at 0861106417 to report fires within the Park.
Wanika Rusthoi - Regional Public Relations Officer - SANParks Cape Region: 021 689 4441, 072 060 8188 or email email@example.com
Philip Prins - TMNP Fire Manager, 021 689 7438/9
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