Twelve Apostles Fire – The Fire And Forest Divide

In mid-October 2017 the Twelve Apostles range of Table Mountain burnt over the course of 5 days in dense alien vegetation on the privately owned lower slopes and in old stands of fynbos within the Table Mountain National Park.  It was a somewhat unusual fire in that it occurred in spring, before the typical Cape fire season. No human life was lost, and no notable damage to infrastructure was suffered. At the end of the day what we know as the #12ApostlesFire was a good ecological burn. I have been monitoring the fynbos regeneration and wildlife activity within the fire affected region and regularly visit the Twelve Apostles to observe changes to the landscape.

Scroll down for the details and images contained in the next update.

Cape Town – 18 October 2017

“Just a week and a half ago we saw a fire break out near Victoria Drive south of Camp’s Bay which burnt 900 hectares of Table Mountain over 5 days.

Following the mopping up processes by Table Mountain National Park & Working on Fire (aided by good rainfall) we hiked Constantia Corner to get a glimpse of the fire footprint in Orange Kloof, the restricted access area on Table Mountain.

As expected the fire was abruptly stopped in its tracks along the forest margins. It burnt the fringes and isolated trees, but stuck to the fynbos covered mountain slopes above the valley. The fire jumped the Ring Road on Bosky Buttress, but the Silver Tree Trail came away unscathed thankfully. As the fire burnt up Slangolie Ravine and Spring Buttress it crept towards the Woodhead Tunnel and along the northern slopes of Disa Gorge. It burnt out approximately midway between Woodhead Tunnel and Woodhead Dam on the wet south-facing slopes.

The majority of the burn took place in old fynbos, which was due a fire. The lower mountain slopes on the west facing Apostles Range were covered in vast tracts of invasive vegetation – on private land.

I’ve selected a series of images between Constantia Nek and Woodhead Dam to give an overall picture of what happened along this section of mountain.

Original post HERE

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 00

Mark Hawthorne observes the fire footprint along the western slopes above Orange Kloof. 
Little Lion’s Head is visible on the far left of shot, Grootkop stands tallest along the Apostles.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 01

Grootkop appears largely burnt out (the northern slopes are littered with unburnt areas however).The densely forested Orange Gully (L) and Intake Ravine (R) clearly survived the burn – as expected – and the open Black Slab Gully suffered.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 02

Myburgh’s Corner (L), Myburgh’s Buttress (C) & Bosky Buttress (R).

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 03

Grootkop stands tall in the distance. Orange Buttress (L) & Orange Ridge (R) above the Orange Kloof forest basin.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 04

The upper reaches of mostly fynbos covered areas of Intake Ravine burnt out.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 05

A contrast between the burnt southern sections of the Twelve Apostles and the fynbos covered Constantia Corner.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 06

Bosky Buttress (L) and Orange Gully (R).

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 07

The Silver Trees are just visible at the bottom of picture.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 08

A panorama incorporating Karbonkelberg (far left – burnt early 2017), Little Lion/s Head, Twelve Apostles range (centre of shot), Orange Face (in shadow) and the Table Mountain plateau (far right). Image taken near Belle Ombre.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 09

View towards a burnt Slangolie Buttress (Tranquility Cracks) with the Slangolie Nek (Tunnel Path) visible on the right.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 10

Overlooking Orange Kloof.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 11

Frustration Buttress takes centre stage – burnt until approximately 100m above the Ring Road in this vicinity.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 12

Judas Peak (L) and Grootkop (R) with Separation Buttress dividing lonely southern range.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 13

Overlooking Orange Kloof.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 14

Mark Hawthorne stands alongside a 1980’s “NO FIRES” sign near the Wynberg Cave system erected during his days as a Table Mountain law enforcement ranger.

#12ApostlesFire - Forest Divide 15

The fire burnt out before reaching the Jesus Cave vicinity. You can see the blackened ridge on the top right of shot. This is the view down Disa Gorge, as seen from Woodhead Dam.

The Slopes Of Table Mountain Burn can be viewed HERE

The Night Scene Above Hout Bay can be viewed HERE

The Burnt Western Slopes can be viewed HERE

12 thoughts on “Twelve Apostles Fire – The Fire And Forest Divide

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  12. Pingback: Looking at the Fynbos recovery of the 12 Apostles Fire on Table Mountain | Justin Hawthorne

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