‘A blessing in disguise’

2014-09-26 00:00

THE fierce fires that ripped through the city last week have left a black pall of devastation on the grounds of Pietermaritzburg’s natural areas.

The Witness spoke to the KZN National Botanical Gardens’ estate manager, Charlie Maimela, who said 80% of the 45-hectare estate’s natural vegetation was engulfed in the flames. Thankfully, Maimela added that most of the wildlife, such as common duiker and other antelope, appears to have escaped the fire.

“With regards to birds, insects and reptiles, their physiological behaviour enables them to sense … danger. Therefore, I believe they managed to migrate to a favourable [place],” he said.

However, the fires might have been a blessing in disguise. According to Maimela, the natural estate was invaded with invasive plant species before the fire. The fires may then have assisted the estate team with the eradication of these.

“Most of the alien plants such as baloonvine, bug weed and catsclaw were destroyed. Fire is a natural tool that maintains, monitors and looks after the environment,” said Maimela.

The World’s View Conservancy chairperson, Hugh Temple, said the conservancy’s indigenous trees were destroyed, but there’s hope for recovery.

The Natal Co-operative Timbers (NCT), who manage commercial plantations for the Msunduzi Municipality, estimated that about 60 hectares of commercial plantation were destroyed.

NCT’s general manager Jacob Kotze said that they will be submitting insurance claims to recover and replant the destroyed plantations.

Yesterday, smouldering embers at the Botanical Gardens flared up, but were extinguished.

Msunduzi fire department’s operations manager Essak Khan speculated that the fires might have been caused by negligent people throwing down lit cigarette butts.

According to Accuweather, there is a 40% chance of showers with just five millimetres of rain expected on each day from tomorrow through to Monday.

• siso.naile@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.