Following a recent fire in Ocean View and Simon’s Town, local councillors have warned residents to remove alien vegetation from their gardens.Alien vegetation burns much hotter, so there is a chance that the soil may become sterilised by the fire, explains Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development. This increases the chances of erosion, burning of underground bulbs and seeds and animal deaths.Although many fire breaks exist along mountain slopes, sparks and embers can easily blow into gardens and cause alien vegetation to burn, says ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock.Residents should also ensure their gutters have been cleared, says subcouncil chairperson Felicity Purchase.Dried leaves in gutters pose a fire risk. During the recent fires, she says, two homes were reportedly lost due to fire starting in the eaves under the roof.Although Fire and Rescue spokesperson Liezl Moodie was not able to confirm whether the homes caught alight due to dried leaves in their gutters, this still remains a danger, cautions Herron.“The dried vegetation and leaves in gutters trap flying embers and sparks and ignite the eaves of the homes, and then enter the ceiling of the home,” he explains. Residents need to remove alien vegetation, Herron reiterates. A list of species that need to be controlled is available at www.capetowninvasives.org.za/project/terrestrial.