Climate change means Cape Town should brace for “worst fire season”

Constantia, Hout Bay and Newlands are particularly at risk of a major catastrophe
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Professor Coert Geldenhuys from Stellenbosch University’s Forest and Wood Science Department has warned that climate change and the rise in temperatures will see Cape Town experience its worst fire season.

Speaking to Cape Argus, Geldenhuys said areas such as Constantia, Hout Bay and Newlands are particularly at risk of a major catastrophe.

“We should be very concerned about this because you have many natural areas in Cape Town that are very dry and a lot of fynbos in certain areas.

“If we look at areas such as the Cape Peninsula and Cape Flats you can see those areas are very dry and it is also where the properties are located and where there’s a lot of plants around the houses,” said Geldenhuys.

Parkscape also weighed in and said climate change would be a major contributor to the hot weather.

Climate crisis is creating conditions whereby we are seeing hotter and drier summer conditions, longer summer seasons and a greater likelihood of drought.

Additionally, as conservationists strive to restore endangered ecosystems within Table Mountain National Park and other nature areas, we bring our fire-dependent fynbos biome, which needs to burn every 10-15 years, closer to the urban edge.

When you get infestations of exotic species, such as gums, wattles, rooikrans and Port Jackson into that fire-dependent mix, such as we see on the slopes of Constantiaberg, the fire risk is increased and becomes more severe,” said Nicky Schmidt, Chairperson of Parkscape.

More: Cape Argus

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