Twelve Apostles Fire – 9 Month Update

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 – 16 July 2018

“I returned to the northern extremity of the burn area for a mid-winter update on the Twelve Apostles. It won’t be long until my final ‘monthly update’ is here: that’ll come as a comparison set of images 1 year on this October.

As you know the fire burnt out on Spring Buttress, without having much effect on Woody Ravine, and in the final days it crept between Jesus Cave & Disa Gorge. The latter mentioned area is inaccessible, but visible from the Apostles Spine and Disa Gorge / Dingane’s Ridge and you can see the recovery quite well from a distance.

Striking up Three Firs from the Camp’s Bay Pipe Track was the logical ascent route to get directly onto Spring Buttress. There was a strong northwesterly wind kicking up sand with icy menace and it pushed us up the steep, shaded slope where stopping for a sip of water caused a real drop in body temperature.

Conditions were not ideal for photographing flowers in the strong wind, and as a result I don’t have much to share with you. Layered up we ascended without seeing a great deal of color apart from the infrequent blue lobelia and yellow daisies alongside the trail.

Topping out at the Saucy Dog, where there are large areas of unburnt fynbos, there was more going in. The damp flats and valleys were covered green with regeneration, far less exposed soil compared to the western slopes.The Bobartia indica that have dominated the range for a good 6 months appear to have finally fizzled out and gone to seed.

At our somewhat sheltered lunch spot a Klipspringer kept its eye on us while we enjoyed multiple cups of tea that got cold faster than you could sip it finished.

Signs of animal activities in this area were dominated by porcupine, klipspringer & mongoose.

Here’s a list of what was in bloom in the small burn area hiked:
– Lobelia pinifolia
– Lobelia coronopifolia
– Lobelia setacea
– Gladioulus carneus
– Anemone tenuifolia 
– Pelargonium myrrhifolium var. myrrhifolium
– Bulbinella alooides
– Hermannia hyssopifolia
– Asteraceae sp.
– Ornithogalum thyrsoides 
– Empodium plicatum 
– Penaea mucronata
– Oxalis sp.
– Corymbium africanum 
– Clutia polygonoides

Protea nitida & Wild Rosemary, among others, were flowering in unburnt areas within the range.”

Original post HERE

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 01

Unburnt vegetation along the Twelve Apostles.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 02

Dead conebush with patches of green regeneration in the background.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 00

Regeneration.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 03

The burnt slopes of Spring Buttress (L) and Slangolie Buttress (R) with the odd patch of old vegetation visible.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 04

Protea speciosa.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 05

Burnt proteas in the shaded foreground.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 06

The old and new.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 07

Charred stump.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 08

Scattered color on the Apostles Spine.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 09

The Saucy Dog.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 10

Looking down towards Victoria Drive at the northwestern extremity of the fire.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 11

Regeneration (L) and old fynbos (R).

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 12

Dominated by new growth after the burn.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 13

Mostly new growth on the northern slopes of Slangolie Buttress.

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 14#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 15#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 16#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 17#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 18

#12ApostlesFire - Justin Hawthorne - Table Mountain - 9 Month Update 19

Down, steeply down.

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

The Fire And Forest Divide can be viewed HERE

1 Month Update can be viewed HERE

2 Month Update can be viewed HERE

3 Month Update can be viewed HERE

4 Month Update can be viewed HERE

5 Month Update can be viewed HERE

6 and 7 Month Update can be viewed HERE

8 Month Update can be viewed HERE

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Twelve Apostles Fire – 9 Month Update

  1. Pingback: Twelve Apostles Fire – 10 Month Update | Justin Hawthorne

  2. Pingback: Twelve Apostles Fire – 11 Month Update | Justin Hawthorne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s