New guidelines are now available detailing how to undertake prescribed burns in renosterveld in the Overberg.
These will help land users to protect their renosterveld habitats which are listed as Critically Endangered. The guidelines have been compiled by the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust (ORCT), in support of the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association.
The Overberg area is home to four different renosterveld types. Like fynbos, renosterveld should probably be burnt every 10 to 15 years. But burns must be undertaken responsibly, to protect this severely threatened ecosystem.
The golden rules:
- The ORCT recommends burning in late summer or early autumn – when bulbs are dormant before autumn or winter rains.
- Grazing is strongly discouraged until at least two years after a fire, to give the veld time to recover and give all species a chance to re-establish.
- The ORCT also recommends creating temporary firebreaks, or using natural firebreaks, like roads. Firebreaks can be made using brush-cutters, or alternatively weed-eaters and hand-clearing. And cut material should be spread into the veld to be burnt.
Before undertaking a controlled burn, it’s vital to obtain a permit from Overberg Fire & Rescue. Neighbours and Fire Management Unit leaders should also be informed timeously of ecological burns.
Assistance from Working on Fire teams may also be available.
Planning should be undertaken with the Greater Overberg Fire Protection Association, and with the help of the ORCT.