March 7, 2015

Cape Peninsula Fire: Part II – The Ashes

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Silvermine #1.

Silvermine #1.

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 Nature Reserve, which was burned by the fire just a few days ago. Before the fire, Silvermine was covered in fairly thick, lush, green fynbos vegetation, sprinkled here and there with colorful flowers. However, when we walked through Silvermine today the landscape was barely recognizable. Much of the vegetation had been burned away completely, and many of the plants and trees that remained had been charred black. In between the roasted remains of the vegetation, we saw bare soil, often singed black, or accumulations of white ash. Remarkably, every now and then we would pass a patch of vegetation that had been largely spared from the fire. For example, we occasionally passed patches of bright green succulents or brilliant protea bushes, remnants of the landscape that existed before the fire. When we hiked down a small valley, we reached the edge of the fire damage. For awhile, we followed the sharp boundary that separated¬†charred soil from vibrant vegetation. The difference between the two sides – one burned, one green – was remarkable. It was fascinating wandering through the recently-burned landscape, which at times felt like a moonscape or perhaps a view from Mars or some other planet.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the recently-burned Silvermine landscape:

Silvermine #2.

Silvermine #2.

Silvermine #3.

Silvermine #3.

Silvermine #4.

Silvermine #4.

Silvermine #5.

Silvermine #5.

Silvermine #6.

Silvermine #6.

Silvermine #7.

Silvermine #7.

Silvermine #9.

Silvermine #8.

Silvermine #9.

Silvermine #9.

Silvermine #10.

Silvermine #10.

Silvermine #11.

Silvermine #11.

Silvermine #12.

Silvermine #12.

Silvermine #14.

Silvermine #13.

Silvermine #14.

Silvermine #14.

Those are all of the pictures that I’ll share today. In my next post, I’ll share¬†some pictures of new growths of fynbos vegetation.