Controlled burn planned for nature reserve

A firefighter is pictured during a previous prescribed burn in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve.

There are plans for a controlled burn in the Tyberberg Nature Reserve sometime between February and March.

The City of Cape Town said the burn was needed to remove old vegetation, restore ecological function and reduce the risk of runaway fires.

The exact date of the burn would depend on the weather, but it would not be on Fridays, public holidays or weekends.

The reserve would burn a block between Jim Fouche Avenue and Swarthout Crescent in Plattekloof and a block between Trichardt and Hofmeyr streets in Welgemoed.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development authority, said firefighters would be present and other safety precautions taken. Residents should cut back fence-line vegetation, keep windows closed and clear gutters of leaves. Gas canisters and other flammable items should be removed from outside areas and laundry should be taken off washing lines.

The reserve has one of the largest remaining areas of the critically endangered Swartland shale renosterveld.

“Ideally, this vegetation type needs to burn every five to 10 years in order to remove ageing vegetation and reduce the risk of runaway fires. Fire is also used to stimulate the germination of soil-stored seeds, preventing local extinction of plant species,” said Mr Herron.

The reserve will be closed to the public on the day of the burn and for several days after, until the area is deemed safe.

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