Don’t be alarmed if you see smoke and flames in Harkerville, Knysna today. It’s planned, ecological block burning aimed at protecting fynbos.
SANParks Area Manager for Knysna, Johan de Klerk, said that, “Fynbos is a vegetation type which is adapted to fire and more so, dependent on fire. Many species only recruit after a fire as fire stimulates seed release and germination. Without fire, there would be no fynbos.”
“We are expecting North Easterly winds, perfect weather for block burning.”
Areas scheduled for burning in Harkerville include those inside the GRNP only although MTO and other neighbours are expected to stand by tomorrow. Members of the public are advised not to attempt activities in the area, including hiking and cycling.
The interplay between different biomes or vegetation types, such as fynbos and thicket, is a key motivation to burn. Fire and fynbos specialist, Tineke Kraaij from NMMU said about the ecological burning “in landscapes where fire is kept out indefinitely, fynbos usually reverts to thicket vegetation or forest, as would be the case if Harkerville doesn’t burn. In order to maintain healthy and diverse fynbos, fire has to occur within acceptable limits of variation in terms of its frequency and intensity.”
She adds that fynbos fires should occur at intervals of 10 to 30 years. Natural fires typically occur during warm and dry weather conditions which result in high intensity fires, which is desirable from an ecological point of view.
Press release by SANParks.