It is almost one month since the devastating Cape Town fire began and about three weeks since it ended. Although it is normal for our area to have fires at this time of year, this fire was particularly bad because of its extent (5,000 Ha burnt) and the damage it caused to property. In the immediate aftermath our beautiful mountain appeared destroyed and beyond recovery.
In Greek mythology, the phoenix (also spelled “fenix” in old English) was a bird associated with the sun, that lived for a long time before dying in fire. Afterwards the Phoenix would regenerate and rise from the ashes of its predecessor. This legend is an accurate depiction of the response of our unique indigenous fynbos, to fire, because not only are all of the species in fynbos adapted to survive fire, many are dependant on fire for their regeneration.
What amazes most people is how soon after a fire evidence of recovery is seen.
I am documenting the post-fire changes and future articles will illustrate these changes while also explaining some of the intriguing strategies adopted by fynbos species in order to survive in a fire-prone environment.