Information to all my clients in Welgedacht, Kanonberg, Welgemoed, Protea Valley, Van Riebeeckshof and Oude Westhof as issued by The Communication Department, City of Cape Town
Tygerberg Nature Reserve is scheduled to perform a prescribed ecological burn on 1, 2, 7, 8, 14 and 15 March 2011. For safety reasons the reserve will be closed to the public on these dates.
Surrounding residents are advised to keep their windows shut while burning takes place. Flammable items such gas canisters should be removed from outside areas, and laundry should be taken off washing-lines to prevent odour contamination from smoke. Sprinklers may be used to dampen gardens and lawns as a further precautionary measure.
The dates may change depending on the weather conditions on the day. A 50 ha area will be burned on the north-western slopes of the reserve (Plattekloof side). Staff from surrounding reserves and Fire and Rescue Services will assist with the burn.
The reserve staff will ensure that the procedure will be conducted efficiently and safely. Fire breaks have been maintained and widened where necessary, and fire-fighting equipment and fire hydrants have been tested to make sure everything is in working order.
The required burning permits have been obtained, and Fire and Rescue Services staff have conducted a pre-inspection of the area.
Tygerberg Nature Reserve conserves one of the largest remaining areas of the critically endangered Swartland shale renosterveld. Controlled burns are crucial for the management of renosterveld, as fire plays a fundamental role in its lifecycle. By removing the dense canopy created by mature vegetation, sunlight is allowed to penetrate at ground level, which helps with seed germination.
Too frequent fires can lead to a decline in slow growing species, whereas fires that are too infrequent lead to the domination of mature plants. Carefully managed burns are therefore necessary to obtain maximum species diversity. Another advantage of burning old vegetation is that it reduces fuel loads, which in turn reduces the risk of future wild fires. Renosterveld should burn somewhere between every 5 to 10 years.
The single biggest threat to renosterveld is the rapid encroachment of development which has led to its depletion and fragmentation. To conserve what we have left, it is necessary to simulate a natural fire pattern.
Tygerberg Nature Reserve, situated on the hills of Tygerberg, is one of more than 30 nature reserves and natural areas managed by the City of Cape Town. Renosterveld is renowned for its diversity of plant life, and the 309 ha reserve boasts 562 recorded plant species and new species are continuously discovered. To date, 23 plant species are threatened with extinction, and three are endemic to the reserve
Reserve Management would like to thank all the residents in the area for their understanding and co-operation.