Fire and Fynbos

Those of you who know a bit about Fynbos, the plant kingdom found on top of Table Mountain will know that fire is a natural part of the ecosystem. Without fire many of the plant species would fail to regenerate. This of course creates a bit of a problem with the city being slap bang in the middle of the plant kingdom.

So throughout the summer when the Southeaster is howling, you will see a sign indicating the severity of fire risk each day. On days when there is a severe risk, braais (barbeque) in public braai areas close to the mountain are banned. Still fires do happen so we have a team of fire fighters and a fleet of helecopters to fight the fires. The other day on Table Mountain I was able to see one of the helecopters practicing picking up and dropping water from the Woodhead reservoir.

Here are some pictures:

Table Mountain hikes

The helecopter hovering as the bucket fills up


Table Mountain walks

The copter then did a circuit of the back table


Table Mountain hikes

Then he returns over the reservoir to drop the water

The peace and quiet of the mountain was pretty much shattered while he was around. He only did 3 turns though before disappearing and the skill of the pilot was amazing to watch. In order to fill the bucket they seemed to be only a few metres above the water and he then had to fly in a pretty tight circle to avoid the various peaks. Was great to see.