Springtime is a glorious time of year for Capetonians – it signals the beginning of endless days at the beach, hiking trips each weekend and hours lazing by the pool in the bright sunshine. As the weather heats up, it also proves to be a potential for fires breaking out on the particularly flammable scrub along Table Mountain.
Here are tips on how to keep your home safe as fire season approaches.
Residents who live near the mountain are advised to do a three-metre danger zone check around their homes to ensure there is no rubble or dead vegetation, especially in gutters. The biggest problem with wildfires coming down the mountain is not flame itself, but rather what are known as “ember attacks”. This happens when embers move ahead of the flame and often land, igniting debris and dead vegetation.
Those who have homes with wooden decks are advised not to let leaves accumulate beneath them, as these burn easily during ember attacks. Trees such as palm and pine are also highly flammable, and these are trees that are often spotted around homes in Cape Town.
Residents are also urged to see the benefits of controlled burning, as it is kept to a confined area and under strict conditions. According to the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association’s website, the aim of controlled burning is to reduce unnecessary fuel for fire, and also control alien vegetation.
Fire season in Cape Town typically begins on December 1 and lasts until the end of April, but this is also dependent on how high temperatures go.