As part of the normal life cycle fynbos burns naturally at intervals and the type of fynbos at Banghoek has a fire cycle of every 15 – 20 years. A minimum of about seven years between fires is necessary to build up a sufficient seed bank for regeneration after a fire.  Fynbos is rich in flammable oils which aid the spread and effect of fire.  Without fire the fynbos becomes thick, loses its diversity and old seeds lose viability.  Thus, fire at Banghek is a natural event and Banghoek works with the excellent Working-on-Fire organisation who at regular intervals assist with a controlled burn to rejuvenate designated fynbos blocks.


Image – ref Andrew Phillips

Fire can be as a result of a natural event such as lightning but in recent years we have had two serious fires caused by Banghoek residents – one in 2003 which devastated Banghoek.  We have learnt much from that time – the 2003 fire could have been stopped had it been reported earlier – it was only reported 4 hours after it started, by which time the January summer winds had swept it up the valley burning down everything including 24 units in its path.

In the summer of 2020 when another fire resulted from member carelessness, a massive fire with the devastating potential of 2003, was reported timeously and controlled over the two-day burn by a co-ordinated effort of your trustees and local fire fighters as well as helicopter water bombing which was covered by our insurance.  The fire fighters and alerts to members were expertly controlled by WhatsApp by Trustee Jackie Phillips for which Banghoekians are extremely grateful.  Because of this intervention no damage was done to any of the units, which shows that it is possible to control a fire if it is reported early enough.  The 2020 fire burnt large parts of the reserve and as a gift from that, we now have excellent fire breaks for the next few years as well the bonus of a beautiful spring show in 2021 with a rejuvenated veld.

Please, however, be vigilant and careful and especially keep a tight control over out-of-the area workers who, as city dwellers, are not aware of the dangers.  As was the case in 2016 when another large fire swept the valley outside of the Banghoek area.  It was caused by a lunch wors braai by out-of-area workers.  It was only a small fire which they thought they had put out, but when the evening winds came up the embers were ignited, and the fire swept through the surrounding farmland creating thousands of Rands in losses in the rooibos agricultural lands – still being contested in the insurance courts 5 years later.

The pictures below, courtesy Banghoekian Andrew Phillips, show our last controlled burn.


Image – ref Andrew Phillips

Banghoek Private Nature Reserve