The Cape Aflame Project Team

SANParks Moves to Save Tokai

Tokai Plantation explodes
Tokai Plantation explodes during March 2015’s Muizenberg Fire, illustrating the devastating potential of alien pines on biodiversity and those living on the Wildland Urban Interface. Photograph: Arne Purves

“We welcome public involvement in projects and initiatives hosted by our citizen volunteers in the Friends Groups, Honorary Rangers and Fire-fighting teams…and we invite the public to join these groups to assist us in conserving our natural heritage.”

South African National Parks (SANParks) 30 August 2016

Eighteen months have passed since the potentially devastating Muizenberg Fire that inspired The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire.

Rehabilitation of the Tokai section of Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has now reached a stage where South African National Parks (SANParks) is able to secure the surrounding city from wildfire rampaging through alien commercial pine plantations.

The danger posed to TMNP and its adjacent suburbs by uncontrollable wildfires burning ten times as hot as naturally occurring fynbos fires cannot be overstated.

Tokai fire whirls
Fire whirls, created by alien pines burning ten times hotter than indigenous fynbos, feed on Tokai Plantation during March 2015’s Muizenberg Fire – threatening lives on both sides of the Wildland Urban Interface. Photograph: Arne Purves

All informed Capetonians, especially those living in close proximity to the ever-present threat of cataclysm, must surely be relieved and grateful that this mammoth task is moving to a close conducive to preserving our world-renowned park and its unique biodiversity.

SANParks’ detailed Table Mountain National Park Position Statement: Tokai and Cecilia Plantations, released on 30 August 2016, is most welcome. So too is its invitation to Capetonians (and, more particularly, residents living in Zwaanswyk, Tokai, Westlake and Constantia) to volunteer their time and skills to “projects and initiatives…conserving our natural heritage”.

Alien landscape
Alien landscape But for an integrated wildfire management system, Tokai Plantation’s once-fuel loaded pine compartments might have devastated suburbs showing little evidence of an appreciation for defensible space. Photograph: Patrick Ryan

Our volunteers in the SANParks Honorary Rangers, Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association, Volunteer Wildfire Services and other organisations where South Africans, freely or for limited remuneration, dedicate their lives and time to ensuring the safety of our biodiversity and our city’s residents should be supported in every possible way.

If, as a resident living in the area affected by felling operations, you find yourself unable to volunteer time or resources to meaningful conservation efforts beyond protecting your own defensible space, we urge you to visit a bookshop or Wizardz Print & Design outlet near you to acquire a copy of The Cape Aflame – Cape Town’s Dance with Fire.

The full cover price goes directly to The Cape Aflame Project’s partners (mentioned above and including the Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Wildlife and Horse Care Units), who unstintingly support SANParks in its efforts to preserve Table Mountain National Park for all our people and the world.

Show them you care and support their selfless efforts.



Leave a Reply