Ranald Lawrence (SSoA), 29 March 2015
Temperatures in Cape Town reached 42°C earlier this month, the highest since records began over 100 years ago. With rising temperatures come new and familiar challenges. March’s peak temperatures were accompanied by wildfires ignited in Muizenberg, Table Mountain National Park, which burned through 15,000 acres of land and claimed the life of one of the helicopter pilots sent to tackle the flames. Wildfires are nothing new in Cape Town – and the fires that accompany the summer months are part of the natural process of the regeneration cycle of the native fynbos which covers the Cape peninsula – but this fire was the worst seen in decades, and the City of Cape Town Fire Service and local volunteers did well to limit the damage to only 13 properties. At one stage, with flames licking the edge of the farm, the historical collection of furniture and art at Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in South Africa, was removed for safe-keeping.