So, with the end of January fast approaching, the Cape Peninsula’s fire season is in full swing again.
I posted last year on the havoc that a small uncontained fire on some open areas near the office park wreaked on the afternoon scrummage on the N2 leaving the CBD but, us city-dwellers have it comparatively good. The rural areas have it far worse. Case in point: the Hermanus/Stanford area (just over an hour’s drive away, unless you foolishly attempt it on a Friday afternoon when everyone going away for the weekend has the same general idea) had a massive blaze over the Christmas and New Year period that took six days to contain (and did significant damage to the Hermanus Yacht Club). The photos posted on the South African Weather Observation and Disaster Service blog pretty much say it all.
Today, the mountains separating Stellenbosch from Franschhoek is Ground Zero. Megan (who I mentioned in one of my ancient posts here) took this photo earlier today from the University of Stellenbosch’s Danie Craven Stadium, and has been kind enough to let me reproduce it here. Once again, the photo tells the story.
Yup, it can (and does!) get pretty bad around here. I was given a guided tour of one of the Stellenbosch wine farms around nine months ago, and I recall our tour guide mentioning that all of the area’s wine farmers have a genuine fear of blazes such as this. Not really surprising.
The fire situation around this time of year is problematic enough that the provincial government has published a brief “what-if?” guide. Still, prevention is better than cure here: please don’t be the person who sets the next one off. If you habitually smoke and toss your cigarette butt out of your car window, I’m looking at you here…