“Freed of the peaks, ravines and gullies of the southeast and bypassing the southeastern suburbs of Tokai and Zwaanswyk, the firestorm ripped through the western side of the Silvermine section, devouring its dense vegetation and public boardwalks before, two hours later, at 03:00, it dropped like a 10-kilometre wave of lava from the mountains into the residential areas of Noordhoek, Chapman’s Peak and Hout Bay, cutting off all access roads bar Main Road along the False Bay coast.”
Peter Wynne’s hour-by-hour, day-by-day fire-progression map of the March 2015 Muizenberg Fire – developed for the Volunteer Wildfire Service (VWS) Planning Section – is of international standard and provides unmatched graphic insight into how topography influences the dynamics of wildfire in fynbos of differing ages and fuel loads on the Cape Peninsula – under the weather conditions that prevailed.
Not only does Peter’s map give readers a remarkably precise guide to when, where and how the blaze may have affected them on the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), it bears unerring testimony to the efficacy of firebreaks built and maintained by public and private members of the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association (CPFPA).
Who belongs to the organisation? How is it funded and why does it exist?
You know as well as I do that the answer to these and many other questions we seldom ask or find answers to are contained in The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire, due for delivery from the printers in a month’s time. In it, Peter gives a detailed account of how such maps are compiled – again answering many unasked or unanswered questions.
As for the CPFPA, many living in exclusive suburbs on the urban side of the WUI have every reason to be thankful that it does exist – and functions as effectively as it does.