The plant material produced as a result of clearing invasive plant infestations poses a severe fire hazard if not handled correctly. These guidelines are intended to assist landowners to avoid the risk accompanied by the incorrect handling of invasive plant material.
Options of handling plant material
- Material can be removed from the property and disposed of at one of the various City of Cape Town’s Drop off facilities any day of the week. Loads of up to 1 500 kg (1.5 tons) of plant material may be dropped off at no cost. For information on the drop-off facilities follow the link http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Solidwaste2/Documents/Drop_off_Time_Table_combo_1
- Material can be chipped and the resultant woodchips can be utilized as ground cover or compost material.
- Material can be utilized for firewood or eco-furniture. For more information on the Natural Resources Management Programme’s Eco-Furniture Factories: https://www.environment.gov.za/content/eco_furniture_factories
- Another alternative is to remove the excess plant material by stack burning. Stack the material in heaps after clearing and apply for an open burn permit.
- Owners of residential properties smaller than one hectare (10,000 m²) are to remove or chip the material.
Important information when considering stack burning
- Ensure that provision is made for a detailed fire safety management plan which must be implemented to compensate for un-burnt stacks after the burning season.
- Stack/fuel reduction burns are limited from 01st May to 15th October pending a successful open burn permit application.
- Neighbours are to be notified about the intention to conduct a stack/fuel reduction burn. (See example Annexure A)
- Complete the open burn permit application form and forward the completed form to Bronwyn Davidson at Bronwyn.Davidson@capetown.gov.za of the City of Cape Town Air Quality Management (See application form Appendix B)
- Air Quality Management and the City of Cape Town Fire & Rescue Services will conduct an inspection whereby authorization to conduct the burn is approved under certain conditions or declined if the criteria for conducting a stack/fuel reduction burn in the Cape Metropolitan Area are not met.
- An inspection fee is applicable (Please refer to http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Budget)
o City Fire & Rescue Services inspection tariff: R 259.90 per 15 minutes
o Air Quality Management inspection tariff: R 2020.00 per application
o Persons or organisations who submit applications for authorisation to conduct open burning in terms of the City’s Air Quality Management By-law are exempted from the tariff if they are legitimate members of the Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association (CPFPA). This tariff exemption only applies to the Air Quality Management fee and not the City Fire & Rescue inspection tariff. For more information about the CPFPA visit www.cpfpa.org.za.
The preparation of the stacks is important and should be planned and executed correctly from the start to save time and costs of re-doing the stacking.
Stack preparation guidelines
- The number of stacks created will depend on the size of the area being cut and situational factors e.g. risk, prevailing weather conditions, type of vegetation, firefighting resources etc.
- Stacks should not be positioned closer than 100 metres to the urban edge.
- The basal diameter of stacks should not be more than 2,5 metres
- The distance between stacks should be at least 5 times the basal diameter.
- Only one stack at a time should be burn
- Tracer belts of a minimum of one-metre width must be placed around each stack. This belt can be raked and the combustibles placed on the stack.
- Only branches of less than 70mm diameter should be burnt. Large diameter branches at breast height should not be burnt but left in situ.
- Stack the material with branches facing inwards, making heaps as large as possible. The larger the heap the easier it is to burn.
 Source Cape Peninsula Fire Protection Association