Fire in Noordhoek Wetlands
It was a beautifully sunny and quite windy day yesterday… a Saturday when most families went out or came to Noordhoek so their kids could meet Father Christmas. A day of celebration and joy.
However, when I heard that noise in the air… and more and more of it and longer and longer… a noise I remember so well from the historic fires in 2000 when the whole Cape Peninsular burnt and we had to leave our home… I knew there was trouble. And though the wind was not blowing in our direction, so I couldn’t smell it yet… there it was: a huge fire in Noordhoek Wetlands! The photo below was taken directly from my terrace.
A couple of helicopters carrying water were doing their courageous manoeuvers trying to get it out. At times 4 of them, especially as the wind was blowing harder and straight towards ‘The Lakes’ residential area. It was quite spectacular to see even small airplanes joining the crowd in the air to check what was going on below… and yes, a lot of terror and stress for many animals who live in this very rare region. There are just a few wetlands left in the world and they all abound with wildlife… much of which has no wings to fly away for safety.
Fire in Noordhoek Wetlands
This fire in the Noordhoek Wetlands – basically just down the road from us – should remind everybody living in and around Cape Town to watch out, especially if you ar a smoker. Please watch those cigarette butts as it’s so dry that they could easily ignite a fire… and all fires start small… just a little spark and with the right wind it can rapidly develop into a huge destructive and unstoppable force. We’ve seen it; we know what it means.
Watch out for Fires on Table Mountain
For me this has been the driest year ever since I am back in South Africa.
Never did we see our dam as empty as it has been this year. Never did we have a year without the Egyptian Geese breeding here and presenting us with 8 to 12 chicks. And although I am very grateful for the light rains that are going down right now, and despite of the forecasts of the weather experts that 2011 would see a very wet and cold winter – nothing of which came true -… I just know that there is danger lurking and we have to watch out for Fires on and around Table Mountain! When we hiked through various areas of Silvermine Nature Reserve during the winter months we did not see the usual waterfalls and rivulets as in other years. I don’t remember seeing the huge waterfall thundering down from the mountain range behind us either asnd I did look out for it…
I’m no expert, but as a child of this country I feel things intuitively – and this means to be extra careful as fires are a realistic threat in the hot and dry season that has started… And to treat water as what it is: very precious. We may not have enough of it this summer… so let’s use it with care in the true sense of sharing.