February has a reputation for being the hottest of the summer months in our parts. This reputation has taken on an additional meaning over the past few weeks, as fires raged throughout the Western Cape. Hundreds of fire-fighters braved the scorching temperatures to try to keep fires under control and keep residents out of danger. Some news-sites report that up to 7 000 hectares of farmland and vegetation were destroyed in the fires
Besides the wildfires in the Cape Winelands, fires in informal settlements have also been a common occurrence this February. A number of people have been left homeless by these fires and at least two people were killed.
Although the rain over the weekend brought much-welcomed coolness and seemed to have a soothing effect on residents of some parts of the Western Cape, temperatures have already shot back up. Hopefully, though, with autumn drawing nearer, we can look forward to milder temperatures (and tempers, perhaps). But, as is often the case, the other side of the coin brings about its own challenges. Once damper and colder conditions start to set in, many residents will have to deal with inadequate shelter and insulation. It seems that, regardless of what conditions look like, challenges will always have to be faced.
Reddish clouds of smoke formed over Stellenbosch as a result of the Winelands fires.