The Western Cape's natural assets – especially its mountain catchment areas –
continue to be threatened by uncontrolled fires. Increasing infestations of alien vegetation, and climate change – with its attendant hotter and drier periods – are exacerbating the situation. Not only have the last few years seen a steady increase in the number of fires and the areas burnt, but also, more importantly, certain areas are repeatedly being burnt – well beyond their natural cycles.
Fire Awareness Campaign
CapeNature believes it is vital to create awareness, within the general population, of the threat presented by uncontrolled fires, and to enlist their co-operation in minimising the risks. During the 2006/7 fire season, CapeNature, in conjunction with key partners, initiated the first-ever Fire Awareness Campaign in the Western Cape.
The campaign was considered a success and negotiations are again underway to organise a similar campaign in 2007/8. Ideas utilised in the Western Cape are now being used in those northern parts of the country that experience a winter fire season.
CAPE Fire Management Data Project (FMDP)
In the long term, the success of any fire management strategy will depend on the integrity of the underlying research. The CAPE Fire Management Data Project (FMDP) is designed to provide the vital information from which priorities can be identified and appropriate strategies formulated. The project will be taking particular note of the prevalence and impacts of global warming.
The first phase, which is now complete, involved a review of all fire history datasets prepared for all protected areas in the Western Cape – some of which date back to the mid-thirties.
Phases 2 and 3 – involving the analysis of this database – have been launched.
Fire Safety Resources