Saturday, 20 June 2015
Winter in the Kruger National park area is mild and dry with little or no rain from April/May till October/November. Streams, minor rivers and natural pans dry up, and the veld becomes tinder dry.
Towards the end of winter August/September the number of windy days increases, and this increases the chance of run away bush fires, that can destroy thousands of hectares of valuable grass areas for the grazing animals.
Many land and resource management groups claim that bush/veld fires are a natural occurrence and are necessary for the improvement of the veld grasses. However I personally have my doubts about fires and bush fires being natural. Fires can really only occur from lightning strikes, which happen in summer, when it rains, and the grass in the veld is green and not easy to burn. However it maybe that the old grass from the previous year may burn.
However most run-away bush/veld fires are started by humans, be they from honey collectors who start a fire for smoking the bee hive, and then leave the fire unattended or from unattended cooking fires, or the controlled burning of fire breaks, which can get out of hand. Or as in our area from faulty electrical overhead cables and transformers sparking and setting the grass alight.
Which ever which way a grass fire starts they are a potential danger to thatched buildings.
Timbavati Safari Lodge has just added another piece of safety equipment to the lodge.
This is in the form of a portable water spray system that can be used in the event of a bush fire on our property or in the area. While burning our own fire breaks we used and tested our new "fire engine" and it worked like a charm. As a piece of safety equipment we hope never to have to use it except for testing and training.