Due to the elements – warm weather, strong and unpredictable winds and dry vegetation – Table Mountain falls victim to fires every year. Most time the fires are killed in a few hours, without causing too much harm and devastation to nature and people’s lives and home. In some occasions, unfortunately, fires do cause a lot of harm.
On January 26th 2006 for instance. A massive fire swept along the lower and higher slopes of Table Mountain, burning a large part of the face of South Africa’s most important landmark, and Lion’s head and threatening several suburbs.
Again, like many other previous fires, this one was probably caused by a cigarette bud.
As someone who desperately loves Table Mountain - as you have read in my other journals - and all the other nature reserve in the Western Cape province: please do not smoke when being in nature. The fynbos vegetation during summer is incredibly dry and the winds are strong and unpredictable. These are the perfect ingredients for a massive fire I witnessed yesterday. Literally one spark is enough cause a lot of damage.
When you are out camping in the bush, always make sure you extinguish your campfire completely. Never leave glass behind, because the reflection of the sun through the glass onto for instance dry grass causes concentrated heath and thus fire.
Yesterdays fire was a massive one: one person died, houses caught fire and even at this stage the smoldering remains are a genuine threat: In Cape Town a breeze can rapidly develop into a strong south easterly wind, feeding the almost extinguished fires.
Have a look at my pictures, and see for yourself how devastating fires can be.