Photo from FOSTER Communique

A controlled burn of the Irma Booysen Reserve is planned before the 30th November if conditions are suitable according to a communique sent out by FOSTER. Residents will be informed as soon as a decision is made and property owners / residents immediately adjacent to the burn area will be notified personally and are assured that the “Working on Fire” team (WOF)  is highly professional and will have everything in place to ensure that the burn is controlled and contained.

A meeting was held last year to discuss and answer questions and concerns and a summary of that meeting is outlined below.

Why is a controlled burn necessary:

Safety First:

Irma Booysen Reserve has not been burned for an extended period of time. If fynbos is not burned it will gradually be replaced by thicket species and large amounts of dry kindling will build up. For this reason the area was identified as a HIGH FIRE RISK area. When (not if) a fire starts, the dry kindling adds fuel to the fire and the fire not only burns hotter but becomes very difficult to manage and control. A controlled burn is therefore seen as a vital precautionary tool to prevent injuries and damage to people, property and wildlife. A controlled fire is a “cool” fire. The fire does not burn as hot as it would be during uncontrolled conditions.

And then Biodiversity:

Fire in Fynbos is far from a disaster, but rather a crucial trigger that resets the fynbos ‘successional clock’. It provides the stimulus for dormant seeds to germinate and the opportunity for many annuals, short-lived perennials and bulbs to grow, flower and seed during times of abundant nutrients and sunlight. They complete their short life cycles, returning to the soil as the larger shrubs overwhelm them, and remain dormant until the next fire. The optimal fire cycle for fynbos is between 10-14 years. It is not only the floral biodiversity that will benefit but the new growth after the fire will cause an increase the animal biodiversity as well.


Who will be in charge of the project?
The Working on Fire Management team will be in charge. The Kouga Municipality will provide logistical support in the form of water tankers and structural personal.

How many people will be deployed?
46 Fire Fighters from the Working on Fire teams will be deployed. A Samil 50 4×4 vehicle equipped with 1000 litre bakkie sakkie , a LDV 4×4 with 600 litre bakkie sakkie & all the required fire fighting equipment and tools needed for the operation will be deployed.

How will we know when they will start the burn?
We will be notified as early as possible before the planned commencement date. The actual date will be wind & weather dependant. They will only start burning if the fire weather forecast does not exceed 55 in the yellow. We will receive a notice 24 hours prior to actual burning.

Will there be fire breaks?
Our fire breaks have been widened, and will be sprayed with fire retardent before the actual commencement of the fire.
In the unlikely event of fire damage to property or the fire getting out of hand, who will be liable?
Working on Fire is fully insured against all damages.

If you have any queries or questions regarding the Burn Project, please send your questions to capestfranciscivicassociation@gmail.com
We will refer them to the relevant experts.

You can also visit the FOSTER face book site for daily updates on this and other points of interest