Gordo's photos of bush fires and regrowth
All photos and text Copyright © 1998-2008 Gordon Richardson gordonr@iafrica.com

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Burned area from Scarborough - Feb '08

Burned area from Scarborough


Controlled burn in Kenilworth Racecourse fynbos - Mar '05

Controlled burn in Kenilworth Racecourse fynbos


On 13 Jan 2005 a huge fire started above Muizenberg, and burned to Ou Kaapse Weg

Helicopters water-bombing the fire above Muizenberg - Jan '05
A gale-force south-easter meant these efforts were futile

Helicopters water-bombing the fire above Muizenberg Twin-rotor Kamov helicopters water-bombing the fire above Muizenberg


Burned areas of Muizenberg and Steenberg Peaks from Zandvlei
Burned Muizenberg Peak from estuary-mouth Burned areas of Muizenberg Peak from Zandvlei Burned areas of Steenberg Peak from Zandvlei


Glencairn fire and smoke near houses - Jun '04

Glencairn fire and smoke near houses

Thanks to efforts by many firefighters, and helicopters, damage to property was limited


Burned slopes of Twelve Apostles above Camps Bay - Jan '03

burned slopes of Twelve Apostles


Burned slopes of Devil's Peak with Cape Town Harbour - Nov '02

burned slopes of Devil's Peak with Cape Town Harbour


Mountain controlled burn from Kalk Bay Harbour - Apr '02

Kalk Bay mountain controlled burn from Harbour


Smoke plume on mountain above Simonstown from Kalk Bay - Apr '02
Soon after this photo the fire was out of control over the mountaintop

smoke plume on Simonstown mountain from Kalk Bay


Fire on Saddle of Table Mountain and helicopter - Mar '01

fire on Saddle of Table Mountain from Newlands helicopter with fire bucket over Lion's Head


Smoke plume over Table Mountain - 28 Feb '01
Still smouldering 3 days later...

smoke plume over Table Mountain


Update: A series of huge fires on 16 to 19 January 2000
damaged large parts of Silvermine, Simonstown and adjacent areas.


Gladiolus flower and recovery in Silvermine - May/Jun '00

gladiolus flower and recovery of burned area in Silvermine


Erosion in stream bed on Chapmans Peak - May/Jun '00
Mudslide as a result of rain on fire damaged slope

erosion in stream bed on Chapmans Peak


Glencairn burned area - early May '00
The residential area narrowly escaped major damage

burned area behind Glencairn


Leucodendron seeds sprouting next to dead stumps - Mar '00
10 weeks after the fire

Leucodendron seeds sprouting next to dead stumps


Heamanthus flowers sprouting from burned hillside - Feb/Mar '00
8 weeks after the fire

Heamanthus sprouting from burned hillside


Shoots sprouting from burned hillside - Feb/Mar '00

ferns sprouting from burned hillside


Bracken and burned trees above Silvermine reservoir - Feb/Mar '00

bracken and burned trees above Silvermine reservoir


Group of Heamanthus flowers - Feb '00
6 weeks after fire

group of Heamanthus flowers


Chapman's Peak and burned area in Silvermine Nature Reserve

Chapman's Peak totally burned from Noordhoek side burned area in Silvermine Nature Reserve


Adjacent plantations and alien trees made the danger of fires worse.
Burned areas above Tokai Forest and Constantiaberg above Elephant's Eye
burning trees in Tokai Forest burned area on Constantiaberg above Elephant's Eye


Fire lily sprouting from bare soil - late-Jan '00
Barely 2 weeks after the fire.

fire lily sprouting from bare soil


Burned bush with scattered seeds - late-Jan '00
The natural dispersal cycle of fynbos is triggered by fire.

burned bush with scattered seeds



Smoke and cloud over Devil's Peak - March/April '99
This was the first of many fires this summer

smoke and cloud over Devil's Peak


Burned slopes of Devil's Peak with cloud and close-up - March/April '99

burned slopes of Devil's Peak with cloud layer burned slopes of Devil's Peak with setting moon


Smoke over Table Mountain - February '99
The smoke was from a huge forest fire 50km away

smoke over Table Mountain


Fire in Silvermine Nature Reserve - Spring '92

fire on hillside towards Silvermine

Burned hillside and Kogelberg towards Hangklip - December '95

Kogelberg still smouldering after major fire burned slopes of Kogelberg towards Hangklip

Kenilworth Racecourse - mid Summer '96

first grass fire behind Kenilworth Racecourse another grass fire behind Kenilworth Racecourse

Recovery from fire
Fire is a common occurence in the Western Cape fynbos, and is not necessarily as destructive as believed. The following sequence shows excellent recovery above Kirstenbosch in 4 months.

Burned area above Kirstenbosch - October '97

burned area above Ceclia Forest burned area above Kirstenbosch

Recovery from fire above Kirstenbosch - February '98

burned area recovering above Kirstenbosch Nursery gorge and Castle Buttress to right of burned area

wide angle of burned area from Wynberg farmland

Fire at Rhodes Memorial behind UCT - February '98

grass fire at Rhodes Memorial behind UCT

Results of fire at Rhodes Memorial behind UCT - February '98

results of fire below Devil's Peak results of fire near Rhodes Memorial results of fire near Rhodes Memorial


View of burned area in Silvermine - December '98

view of burned area in Silvermine
This fire was caused by lightning strike
(quite rare in the Cape)


Click here to read some thoughts on the imapct of The Fires of Y2k by Tony Rebelo.


Uncontrolled bush fires can also cause collateral damage:
Black smoke above Kenilworth Racecourse from burning cars
This is what a million bucks worth going up in smoke looks like.
More than 100 cars were completely burned out.

black smoke above Kenilworth Racecourse from burning cars


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27 Mar 2008 updated
14 Mar 1998 created