Firefighers tackling nature reserve blaze near Somerset West

2019-02-18 17:14

Firefighters were battling a blaze in the Silverboomkloof nature reserve on Monday, which is home to rare, giant silver proteas, Cape Town's divisional fire commander Edward Bosch said.

"The message that came through was that they have contained it but they are still busy over there," said Bosch. 

He said the City's fire and rescue department responded to the blaze on the mountain slopes at Silverboomkloof Street in Somerset West. 

Six fire engines, three water tenders, 50 firefighters and two City helicopters were sent to help.

Some people live in the area and he was waiting to hear whether evacuations were necessary or if structures were under threat.

The cause is undetected at this stage.

Cape Town and its surrounds have had a brutal fire season, with flames raging as far afield as Hermanus, Wupperthal, and creeping up to houses on the slopes of Table Mountain. 

WATCH: DOCUMENTARY | Oasis in Ashes: The day a fire swallowed a town

The Silverboom nature reserve in the Helderberg area is regarded as a sensitive ecological space given the rarity of the large silver proteas. 

Little white hairs lie flat on the leaves in hot weather to protect them from drying out, according to the SA National Botanical Insitute's website.

This makes them look silver from a distance. In wet weather, the leaves stand up to allow air circulation.

They are considered "rare and endangered", mostly due to urbanisation and agriculture. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  fires

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