The raging fire season

We were on our way home after a trip to the local grocery store when we noticed the pall of black smoke billowing over the Red Hill mountain ridge.   Like a dragon exhaling a plume of fiery breath, flames licked along the rocky edge in a raging inferno.  The Cape fire crews are fighting another devastating fire burning out of control across the peninsula mountains in the deep south.  Southeasterly winds are howling at gale force driving the blaze through tinder dry vegetation.  According to estimates already 1000 hectacres have burned.   The fire is reported to have started near the Red Hill informal settlement then onwards threatening the coastal villages of Scarborough and Misty Cliffs.  It spread towards the back of Kommetjie village today destroying seven homes in the rasta settlement and encroaching into Ocean View.  The City has rolled out it’s disaster management teams; Table Mountain National Parks (TMNP), Working on Fire (WOF) and Volunteer Wildfire Services (VWS) are all pitching in while airside five helicopters and two fixed wing planes are waterbombing from above.

Kleinplaas dam area, Red Hill
Kleinplaas dam area, Red Hill.
A fixed wing plane waterbombing the advancing flames.
A fixed wing plane waterbombing the advancing flames behind the crest of the hill.
One of five helicopters dropping water.
One of five helicopters dropping water.
Traffic exiting from Kommetjie and Ocean View
Traffic exiting from Kommetjie and Ocean View.
The fire advances into Ocean View.
The fire advances into Ocean View.
Homes in Ocean View engulfed by a thick pall of smoke.
Homes in Ocean View engulfed by a thick pall of smoke.
Flames pushing towards the houses.
Flames pushing towards the houses.

My thoughts go out to the communities in peril tonight, and I think of the bravery of the fire crews who have the challenge of a long night ahead as they battle this mad, towering inferno.













17 thoughts on “The raging fire season

  1. Gosh. Not again! I do hope there is no loss of life, though of course loss of homes is devastating and the effect of the flora and fauna. They are having similar issues in parts of Australia too. You southerners are just burning up whilst us northerners are sinking!

    1. Yes. It’s harrowing, but also a wake-up call on how we manage the environment.
      Brush cutting and maintaining fire breaks are all the more necessary in these times. Here property owners can now be fined for not keeping rampant vegetation growth which can become hazardous under control. Can no longer be so blase about environmental issues.

      1. Yesterday I read in our local paper that of the 60 people given council notice to clean up or be fined and have the work carried out by council at owners’ expense, 17 have ignored the notice. Stupid! It also puts neighbours at risk.

  2. Yes, we are having similar problems with fire in several of our Australian states where people have been incinerated and over 100 houses burnt, in fact who towns destroyed completely in WA. It is very scary when you see fire that close to your town!

    1. We’ve been seeing the harrowing images in the media of the recent fires in WA – the loss of life is devastating and the destruction of homes so sad. Here in SA we’re becoming more aware of fire vigilance and the need to maintain ‘defensible’ space – the ongoing clearing of the overgrown vegetation, dry brush, alien plants.

  3. I hope you have rain soon fire is devastating. Australia is also suffering some terrible losses at the moment. One whole town, Yarloop, burnt to the ground and 2 lives lost last week.

  4. Must be terrifying to be in the path of such infernos. Ironically parts of Northern England, Wales and Scotland have been deluged with rain and suffered severe flooding, also devasting homes.

    1. It’s such a contrast, and devastating for those who lose properties. Certainly raises awareness regarding disaster risks and management into the future with the changing climate. Environmental management will have to evolve to cope with these extreme events.

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