The plant material produced as a result of clearing invasive plant infestations poses a severe fire hazard if not handled correctly in the City of Cape Town.
These guidelines are intended to assist landowners in the City of Cape Town to avoid the risk accompanied by the incorrect handling of invasive plant material.
What are the options for handling cleared invasive plant material?
1. Drop-off Facilities - Cape Town
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/Work%20and%20business/See-all-City-facilities/Our-service-facilities/Drop-off%20facilities
Material can be chipped and the resultant woodchips can be utilized as ground cover or compost material.
3. Eco-Furniture - Invasive Wood - School Desk Programme
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/projectsprogrammes/ecofurniture
4. Stack burning
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.
NOTE: Owners of residential properties smaller than one hectare (10,000 m²) must remove or chip the material.
Important information for stack burning in Cape Town
- 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 1 May to 15 October pending a successful open burn permit application.
- Neighbours are to be notified about the intention to conduct a stack/fuel reduction burn.
- Complete the open burn permit application form and submit it to the City of Cape Town Air Quality Management.
- 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.
- Inspection fees are applicable (Please refer to http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/Budget)
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.