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2 June 2017

Fire and groundwater

Post by Andy Baker, University of New South Wales The effects of fire on the surface environment are clear to see. Landscapes are coated in ash. Intense fires can destroy all vegetation and alter soil properties. Less intense fires destroy just the surface leaf litter, grasses and shrubs.  Grass fires can be fast moving, destroying buildings and threatening lives. Intense fires can even form their own local weather systems. But …


24 December 2016

A wondrous transformation

It’s bonfire season here in the Fort Valley. I live in a forest, and that forest is full of dead and downed wood. Motivated by a desire to (a) reduce forest fire risk and (b) clear out some of the area under the trees for unobstructed recreation, I gather it up and periodically burn it off in batches. We time these blazes to the weather – before or after after …


17 December 2015

Cape Peninsula Fire: Part III – The Phoenix

Earlier this year back in March, as I blogged about here and here, a large forest fire raged over much of the Cape Peninsula region of South Africa. Shortly after the fire was extinguished, my husband and I went on a hike in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, one of the areas badly affected by the fire. We found ourselves walking through a surreal, ash-covered landscape filled with charred vegetation, with …


7 March 2015

Cape Peninsula Fire: Part II – The Ashes

Earlier today I wrote up a post about the recent fire on the Cape Peninsula, nearby my home city of Cape Town, South Africa. I also shared some pictures of the fire raging near the town of Hout Bay. In this post, I’d like to share some pictures of the landscape that the fire left behind. This afternoon my husband and I spent a few hours hiking in the Silvermine …


Cape Peninsula Fire: Part I – The Flames

For nearly a week, a forest fire raged through much of the Cape Peninsula region of South Africa. On Sunday, March 1st the fire began on the hills above the seaside town of Muizenberg, a popular destination for surfers and other beach visitors. Over the next few days, aided by strong winds, the fire spread across the mountains to the towns of Hout Bay, Tokai, and Noordhoek. These towns are all suburbs of …


2 March 2015

Monday Geology Picture: Cape Town Fire Smoke

Currently, forest fires are raging here in Cape Town, South Africa. You can see some images of the fires here and here and here. I live and work relatively far away from the fires. However, from my office today I could see smoke from the fires in the distance. I hope that the fires are put out soon since they threaten much of Cape Town’s beautiful forest as well as …