CapeNature responded to 76 fires resulting in 31 198.7 hectares of natural and other veld burnt during the 2020/21 fire season. As we enter the 2021/22 fire season, CapeNature appeals to the public to help prevent fires and report smoke or fire.
“Partnerships are incredibly important when it comes to managing fire”, says CapeNature CEO, Dr Razeena Omar. “In 2020/21, CapeNature was able to contain 65% of fires responded to at less than 30 hectares. This success was achieved due to the collective efforts and fast response by all our valued firefighting partners including Provincial Disaster Management, District and Local Municipalities, Fire Protection Associations, Working on Fire, NCC Environmental Services, Volunteer Wildfire Services and landowners”.
During the previous fire season, a total of 75% of fire ignitions were started by people and this remains the main cause of fire ignitions, followed by natural (lightening or rock falls), mechanical and fire operations respectively. It only takes one spark to start a wildfire that can quickly expand over thousands of hectares, endangering lives, properties, livelihoods and biodiversity. In our efforts to reduce ignitions by people, CapeNature conducted more than 360 stakeholder learning interventions across the Western Cape with the focus on fire prevention and rapid response. Interventions included awareness, capacity building and educational activities using a variety of platforms.
The fynbos plant biome forms the largest part of the Greater Cape Floristic Region and contains fire-adapted ecosystems rich in plant species. Fire is therefore needed to maintain high levels of plant biodiversity and as a result, effective management of fires is critical for the protection of biodiversity on these World Heritage Sites.
Members of the public can help save lives, infrastructure and biodiversity by practicing fire safety and reporting smoke or fire quickly. To report smoke or fire, call 112 from a cell phone or 10177 from a landline. For more information, visit www.capenature.co.za.
*Caption for graphic provided: A 20-year summary showing the number of fires CapeNature responded to annually, and the number of hectares burnt (1 April to 31 March).
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