Autumn is here; the rain has started falling and that means that it is time for the annual fuel reduction burns to take place in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced that the controlled burns are set to occur in the upcoming weeks in various sections of the TMNP, so when you see fire along the mountain, don’t be alarmed.

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The Fire Management Department will be conducting the controlled burns. The burns will consist of allocated stacks of wood and slash being burnt at selected located in the Northern, Central and Southern sections of the park. These burns usually take place between May and October, when we experience colder, wetter weather. They will only commence once sufficient rain has fallen.

SANParks and the Fire Management Department will not be able to notify people when exactly they will be conducting the burns, as this activity is weather dependent. To give you a general idea, no burning will take place over weekends, public holidays or when strong/gale force winds occur.

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If you live near a burn site, you’ll at least know when there should not be any fire on TMNP. You should also keep an eye out on the SANParks TMNP Twitter account for updates and notifications regarding the burns.

For those of you who are concerned, or don’t understand why the controlled burnings take place, don’t worry. While we have seen some bad fires on the mountain in recent years, the controlled burnings are properly planned and safe. The burnings play a vital role in the on-going rejuvenation of plant life in the park. Our unique Fynbos has adapted to fire and prescribed burning forms an integral part of the ecological management of the park.

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The burns remove fuel accumulated across the parks from alien plant clearing operations. It eliminates invasive alien plants while reinvigorating indigenous flora and reduces the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. According to SANParks, landowners have the right to object to the burnings to the Air Quality Management Department. Their information is: +27 21 590 5200 or Bronwyn.Davidson@capetown.gov.za.

Photography courtesy SANParks Table Mountain National Park 

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