Fire Diary – week 1 after fire

One week after the fire and some forty thousand hectares looked like this – a charred, desolate wasteland.

fire in walker bay

Yet already the process of regeneration was well underway. Far from destruction, what we were about to witness was amazing regeneration and an extraordinary explosion of life out of the ashes. Just one week after the blaze and enter Haemathus sanguineus, the April Fool or paintbrush flower.

Haemanthus sanguineus flowering in the fynbos on Grootbos

In between fires this spectacular bloom is seldom seen. Each year it produces two large, leathery, tongue shaped leaves that lie flat on the ground and produce food reserves for the large underground bulb. Each year the leaves dry up in early summer leaving no above ground evidence for this plant. A summer fire such as we experienced in February 2006 is exactly the trigger needed and these spectacular crimson red blooms appeared all over the charred landscape. It is a favourite for sunbirds and the seeds mature ready for germination just in time for the first winter rain showers.

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