Alien vegetation fuels mountain fires

A mountain fire on the Western Cape, South Africa, was fuelled mainly by alien vegetation, which hampered the efforts of attending firefighters.

The fire was extinguished last week, with mop-up teams remaining briefly on site in case of flare-ups. However, the cold weather helped to dampen any chance of such incidents.

The blaze initially broke out on veld, behind the Waverley Hills Organic Wine farm. At one point it was heading to agricultural workers’ homes, before teams were able to change its course.

Winelands municipality spokesperson Jo-Anne Otto said that the fire had been largely fuelled by alien vegetation in the area.
This fire is the second major incident in the fire season and both spanned areas of predominantly alien vegetation. This type of vegetation depletes underground water reserves which adds to water scarcity. In addition, it burns at higher temperatures when compared to indigenous fynbos, making tackling blazes like these more hazardous.
With the winelands fire being completely extinguished just 24-hours after the last flare-up, it now affords the chance to clear the alien vegetation.
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