Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Management Branch staff will be conducting their annual ecological burns at various nature reserves beginning in February, March and April this year, with exact dates depending on weather conditions.
Ecological burns are vital to the preservation of natural vegetation, among other things.
The city requested via press release that residents “please note the recommended potential ecological burns for this season,” included in the table below:
Fire has always been a part of semi-arid landscapes, with many plants and animals dependent on recycled nutrients and healthy ecosystems that wildfires produce. Without controlled burns, old dry growth may fuel larger, more intense and more severe wildfires.
Controlled burns combined with ecological thinning are proven ways to restore natural balance within ecosystems by managing the natural process of fire on the landscape, instead of preventing it.
The City said that fire also provides the critical stimulation that many of our unique fire-dependent plant species require to germinate. These include the Protea burchellii, Protea scolymocephala and Serurria.
While fires that occur too frequently can lead to a decline in slow-growing species and reduced seed production, fires that occur with an interval of more than 20 years can lead to bush encroachment and the local extinction of species.
Alderman Eddie Andrews said that “another advantage of burning old vegetation is that it reduces fuel loads, which, in turn, reduces the risk of wildfires.”
In addition to fynbos regeneration, ecological burns are also used as a tool for restoration: as a first treatment for invasive clearing, and to restore habitat for critically endangered species such as Kedestes spp. Ranger butterflies.
Competent, trained staff from the Environmental Management Department (EMD) will work with Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service as well as Working on Fire and Volunteer Wildfire Services.