Fresh fires spark fynbos fears

Fresh fires spark fynbos fears

5 January 2006

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Cape Town — As devastating fires continue to plague the Boland region of the Western Cape, fears are growing that, with 32 000 hectares of fynbos destroyed, some plant species could suffer irreparably.

The burnt area is in the epicentre of the fynbos biome – home to the highest number of fynbos species, some unique to the area.

“As the veld age is young, and many plants may not yet have set seed, this could lead to species extinctions,” said CapeNature’s Zane Erasmus.

In the past 24 hours, two new veld fires have been reported in the Overberg district near Hermanus. One has been contained and the other is still burning.

The fire at Arabella Estate continues to smoulder, but is being monitored.

A new veld fire was reported at Rawsonville, near Worcester. This fire is apparently contained and is being monitored.

In the Franschhoek area, the firelines at Du Toit’s Kloof/Donkerhoek and Assegaaibos are receiving attention.

The extent of the burnt area is estimated now to be more than 32 000ha. About 300 firefighters have been deployed.

Wednesday’s fire-danger indices for the Western Cape were predominantly red (extreme) and orange (very dangerous) with cooler weather in the southern Cape.


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