Fire at the Helderberg

280 hectares damage


The fire broke out early Saturday morning and was only contained on Sunday. On Wednesday, the authorities confirmed that the Helderberg fire had damaged about 280 hectares of the reserve. The City of Cape Town has announced the closure of the Helderberg Nature Reserve for the next month.

While the Helderberg Nature Reserve remains closed to the public for an assessment of the infostructure damage and to ensure the safety of visitors, it is reported that the ecological damage is likely to be much less.

The Helderberg Nature Reserve continues to provide regular updates on its Facebook page, «Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve», and is pleased to now be able to share some good news following the devastating fires over the weekend.

According to Cape Talk Portal, the fire has reduced the excessive biomass in the area, which reduces the risk of future fires according to the City of Cape Town.

Bild: CapeTalk 567AM /

Although an initial inspection of the reserve found that most of the fire damage was related to trail infrastructure, ecologically, the reserve is «alive with birds and animals, all adapting to the renewed landscape». According to reports, the steppe burned with varying intensity but left many green «islands» for many species that have made the reserve their home.

«The fynbos animals are adapted to fire and know to leave the burning areas. Fortunately, the fynbos does not burn evenly, and there are many small, unburnt ‘islands’ where they can seek shelter. Unfortunately, there will be some losses, but staff working on the fire have already reported a variety of species seeking shelter in the unburnt sections of the reserve and moving through the already burnt areas,» reports Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve.

They explain that fire has an essential function in the life cycle of the fynbos, and the regeneration of the steppe is spectacular. They say that the sugar bushes have already shed abundant seeds, and it is believed that soon the first green will peep through the ashes.

Unfortunately, many of the footpaths and boardwalks in the lower parts of the reserve are badly damaged and need extensive renovation:

Bild: Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve / Facebook

Bild: Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve / Facebook

Bild: Friends of Helderberg Nature Reserve / Facebook

Bericht by Cape Town etc Online, 16. Juni 2022