Zandvlei Trust

Summer 2005

 

A dramatic rainbow at sunset over the Westlake Wetlands, near the Rutter Road Pond in November.

 


Fires on the Pennisula Mountain Range in January 2005.


photograph by Heather Howell

On the 13th January 2005, about midday,  a fire was started (by someone) in Farmer Pecks Valley on the Muizenberg Mountain. A gale force southeaster was blowing as is usual, in the summer time. 


photograph by Heather Howell

It was not long before the fire swept over the peeks and raced along past Lakeside just above Boyes Drive towards the Westlake Golf Course, Silverhurst Estate, across Ou Kaapse weg and on to Steenberg Estate where it destroyed 3 houses.


photograph by Heather Howell

Fortunately the helicopters at Newlands were on standby. Some clever flying had to be done not to get in each others way. Six helicopters were operating filling up from Zandvlei on a rotational basis.


photograph by Heather Howell

This is a big twin rotor helicoter!


photograph by Heather Howell

What a dramatic shot over Lakeside.


photograph by Heather Howell

The water body is quite narrow at this pick up point,at the picnic site.


photograph by Heather Howell

They eventually got it out after some very hard and dangerous work supported by a large contingent of volunteer and professional firefighters on the ground. Well done everybody. We are very grateful.

Muizenberg Mountain from the Zandvlei Nature Reserve a week later, note the burnt slope,
the fire was started behind the foreground slope in Farmer Pecks Valley.

Looking towards the Helderberg Mountains, across the Zandvlei estuary and False Bay, above Boyes Drive.

The fire swept through the Silvermine Naval base and the Silverhurst Estate (to be developed) where large tracks of exotic vegetation had been left to its own device. The fire jumped the Ou Kaapseweg and destroyed 3 houses and burnt another large tract of land in an estate above the Steenberg Golf Course and Estate.

Looking towards the back of Table Mountain, across Boyes Drive, above Lakeside.

6 helicopters eventually were used, together with hundreds of volunteer fire men and City of Cape Town employees and they managed to bring most of the fire under control after working through the night. The helicopters filled their fire buckets from Zandvlei and the nearest dams to the fire.

On the 14th January at midday another fire started in a similar place and burnt the rest of the indigenous areas which was not burnt the previous day. By all accounts it was a very hot fire. There is sand left in a number of sections on the slopes of Steenberg / Lakeside Mountain. Thousands of hectares have burnt.

The fire was very hot in some places, many rocks have peeled layers.
Most of the rocks are blackened from the fire.

Grass reshooting on the 26/01/2005.

The slopes of Steenberg

Thank you to the pilots, crew and command people, fire fighters and all the behind the scenes people who helped put out the fire, under very difficult circumstances.

                                                                                                                                                 

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