Preventing fires, planting trees & locking up carbon
A partnership between Fogmaker South Africa and the Platbos Conservation Trust is contributing to the reforestation of the unique Platbos indigenous forest in the Western Cape. What these two very different organisations have in common is a desire to prevent unwanted fires, and a deep concern for the environment.
Platbos, situated between Gansbaai and Hermanus, is Africa’s southern-most indigenous forest. Surrounded by fynbos, cultivated lands and encroaching alien invasive jungles, this unique, ancient forest is under threat and needs active management to survive.
Although it is situated in a fire shadow area, wildfires have over the years been encroaching on the forest margins and threatening this sensitive ecosystem which is rich in biodiversity and contains many ancient trees, some over 1 000 years old.
The Platbos Forest Reforestation Project is an NPO that aims to expand and strengthen the forest by removing alien invasive vegetation from the forest margins and planting indigenous trees that are endemic to the area. This crucial work serves to protect the heart of the forest from encroaching wildfires, promotes biodiversity and sequesters carbon to counter global warming.
Fogmaker South Africa decided to get behind this initiative by donating a tree for every Fogmaker fire suppression system that they install in forestry machines during 2021.
These trees are grown in the Platbos tree nursery before they are planted out in selected areas around the Platbos forest. The Platbos reforestation team follows up, watering the young saplings and doing general vegetation maintenance to ensure their survival
The Fogmaker connection
Fogmaker SA are the licenced distributors and installers of Fogmaker fire suppression systems across Southern Africa.
Fogmaker automatic fire suppression systems are manufactured by Fogmaker International in Sweden. The systems are designed specifically to protect engine compartments of mobile equipment – including forestry equipment – to prevent engine fires that have the potential to destroy expensive equipment, injure the operators, interrupt work schedules and set fire to surrounding vegetation including plantations.
Fogmaker systems attack all three sides of the fire triangle: oxygen, heat and fuel. When triggered by an engine fire the Fogmaker system produces a fine water mist. This water mist vapourises and expands when it comes into contact with any heat source and displaces the oxygen needed to sustain a fire. The water mist, containing a foam additive, discharges for more than 60 seconds and cools down hot surfaces, while forming a protective barrier on the surface of any flammable material, including fuel, to prevent re-ignition.
Fogmaker systems have been installed on a wide range of forestry equipment including harvesters, mulchers, chippers, forwarders and loggers, produced by leading suppliers like Hitachi, Tigercat, TimberPro, CAT, Bell and Pinoth.
See how the Fogmaker system extinguishes a simulated engine fire in seconds...
Hard-working forestry machines are always at risk of fire due to the fact that the fine vegetative material (leaves and sticks) that tend to get caught up in the engine compartments have the potential to catch fire due to extreme heat. The risk is increased as the dry, winter fire season approaches in the summer rainfall areas of South Africa.
Fogmaker SA’s innovative CSI programme aims to support the cause of preventing unwanted wildfires, but also to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions which are contributing to global warming and climate change.
Since 2008, the Platbos Reforestation Project team has planted some 89 000 trees, with help from organisations such as Fogmaker, thus making a huge contribution to sequestering carbon.
Last year Fogmaker supported the African Honey Bee Project by donating a bee hive for several Fogmaker systems installed in customers’ forestry machines. This is an innovative project that promotes bee farming and honey production among rural communities. It includes training in responsible bee keeping, in particular how to smoke out bee hives without setting fire to the surrounding vegetation. This is a frequent source of wildfires in forestry plantations around SA.