I’m catching up with this blog because it has been quite hectic after the fire which was the most extensive fire in the reserve for years. It apparently started in Longmore forest and, due to very strong westerly winds, made its way to the Van Stadens gorge and burnt large areas around Thornhill, Lady Slipper and beyond.

We went to check up the day after to see what was left and it was very little. Thank goodness the nursery, most of the Arboretum and some sections which burnt last year were spared.

I think it is best said with some images:

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Ellie looking at what’s left of the ‘Big Bang’, just the previous week we admired the Sterculia in full flower, now only a stump is left.

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The remnants of the bird hide we were so proud of and, judging by all the comments in the now vanished visitors book, was popular with many. Not to mention the trees and various flowers we planted around it.

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A blue haze still hung over the forest which was largely saved but some trees have fallen over and were still smouldering.

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Electricity supply was interrupted and some poles had to be replaced.

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Miraculously the wooden seat on Rob’s Roost was still intact though badly scorched, not sure if it will still be useable.

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The very solid picnic table at the lookout which has been there for many years is damaged beyond repair and the plaque honouring Gwen Skinner has disappeared.

It has been a very hot fire judging by the extent to which the Proteas have burnt and, even though many seeds have spread, it remains to be seen how quickly everything will recover during this severe drought.

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The fire also spread to the neighbouring farm with the result that a large section of our water supply pipe has burnt. This leaves the community vegetable garden run by ‘Farming God’s Way’ without water to irrigate.