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Cape Winelands fires could cause ecological disaster

30 January 2013 - 10:55 By Sapa

Fires spreading through the Cape Winelands have prompted fears of an ecological disaster, it was reported.

The Cape Times reported that the authorities had spent R1 million to combat fires in the Wemmershoek mountains, near Franschhoek.

"Most of the veld in the area is between eight and 12-years-old. It needs to burn at least every 17-years to regenerate its seed," Working on Fire operations manager Deon Rossouw said.

"This fire would probably destroy most of the veld."

Firefighters concentrated their efforts on fires burning from Franschhoek towards Paarl and Du Toitskloof on Tuesday evening.

Cape Winelands municipality station commander Royston Harris told the newspaper it was concerned the fire would reach the N1 highway.

He said there was no immediate danger to property and no need to evacuate people.

More than 72,000 hectares of vegetation, fynbos and farmland has been burnt.