The Cape Aflame Project Team

Cape Town’s Dance with Fire

Arne Purves fire whirl
Shot through with oft-overwhelming images of fiery cataclysm and vegetative rejuvenation, The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire proves itself more than an easily accessible, moist-eyed rehash of 2015’s Muizenberg Fire. It offers a detailed case study of wildfire and amply demonstrates the success of integrated wildfire management in protecting our biodiversity.

From start to finish, this extraordinary fund-raising venture is an intensely provocative, painstakingly researched and all-encompassing retelling of a centuries-old, frequently misguided race against time by a city formerly ill-equipped to live alongside its immediate neighbour, our Fynbos Biome.

Underpinned by a chapter on how, through our growing appreciation of our critically endangered fynbos, we have spent the past two decades building the wildfire-containment capabilities we enjoy today, the author follows a chronological approach to the Muizenberg Fire, melding myriad technical, emotional, organisational and individual narratives into a fast-paced, often emotive but always educative read.

Frequently heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking and oftentimes witty, details of national, provincial and local government and private-sector adoption of the Incident Command System, an inter-agency method of collaborative cooperation – merge effortlessly with gut-wrenching stories of personal loss, trauma, pain and collective and individual heroism.

Asking hard questions while comprehensively covering the minutiae of catastrophe, The Cape Aflame has, like its subject, come out of nowhere to burn into public consciousness our need to protect our irreplaceable biodiversity.

“We are the bed of coals on which Table Mountain National Park rests,” warns the author, listing the many challenges we must overcome if we are to continue coexisting with our world-renowned and revered natural surrounds.

A lavish, high-quality hardcover publication with a French-fold dust jacket, The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire is not only accessible; its exquisitely laid-out 174 pages make it a must read for anybody living in Earth’s smallest plant kingdom.

Harcover with dustjacket • 174 pages • 250x300mm • SA Media Services • December 2015 • R395

All proceeds go to Cape of Good Hope SPCA, SANParks Honorary Rangers, Volunteer Wildfire Services and the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association. Available online at or at Wizardz stores at Constantia Village, Gardens Shopping Centre, Tyger Valley Shopping Mall, the V&A Waterfront and Eikestad Mall, Stellenbosch.


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