I read with interest, as one does, the letter and report regarding the recent devastating fires by Mrs Mudge and Mr Ackhurst [see pages 4 and 15 of the June 28 edition at www.cxpress.co.za], both with valid and interesting points.
Mr Ackhurst’s proposal to re-establish belts of indigenous forest is correct, except that it would take 50 years to be of value in fire protection - and in a country that cannot see beyond its nose, I wish him luck. But if you don’t start somewhere you ain’t going to get nowhere.
Mrs Mudge’s point of clearing a large area around dwellings is at the moment more valid, as can be seen when driving along Plett Airport Road.
Which brings me to my next point: If there had been a 100-metre fire break along Robberg Road, all those houses would have been saved, preventing the agony and heartbreak that have taken place.
But, have you ever tried to get CapeNature and the environmental agencies - not to mention the ever-nosy green brigade - to allow you to touch one bit of indigenous vegetation or fynbos?
Having lost thousands of hectares of plantations and fynbos, they are still pursuing farmers and smallholders for having a road or fire break of over three metres wide, threatening them with fines in excess of R600,000.
These same people are happy burning up petrol to attend endless meetings or flying overseas to collect awards for their efforts in preserving that same environment that has now been totally destroyed because of their refusal to face up to reality.
These same people will blame plantations of exotic timber - without which we would not be able to meet the desperate need for housing - and to happily eat and drink the fruits of exotic plants.
Get a life; the demographics of our country have changed from 50 years ago.
They conveniently ignore that the most dangerous and combustible vegetation is fynbos, which is impossible to put out in a high wind.
So don’t bother to apply for a fire break to protect your property. It will take three years to approve if you are lucky, plus an environmental survey costing a couple of hundred thousand rand and done by a person that they nominate.
Talk about the prosecution appointing the judge.
We are dealing with people who value a plant above human life and individual property. It is high time that these organisations were stripped of their petty attitudes and forced to face the music.
I recommend reading the history of the great fire of 1859.
‘Monsieur du Warbois’, Plett