Let’s go for a hike!

I touched on the fires rampaging through the Western Cape a few days ago. They’re still burning out of control, despite the best efforts of many hundreds of firefighters, landowners and other stakeholders. Two major ones I’m watching at the moment are the one at Die Dam, and the one between Pringle Bay and Betty’s Bay.

Die Dam has been burning for 3 days now and has spread into two separate fires, one heading west towards Pearly Beach, and one heading east towards Rietfontein. The Suiderstrand group has been alive with chatter about this since it began, especially given the unfortunate incident in the village a few years back. And so I was a bit confused when one of the ladies on the group mentioned that she “could see smoke” from her house.

I mean, yes Margaret. We all can.
That’ll be the absolutely massive fire just up the coast that everyone – including you, Margaret! – has been talking about for the past 72 hours.

Give me strength.

But even Margaret wouldn’t be as daft as some people in the other fire. Sure, you have your “disaster tourists”, the ones who turn up and get in the way of the firefighters by trying to get photos to improve their social media clout, and they’re annoying.

But then there were also messages from the authorities asking people not to hike in the affected areas.

Seriously, who looks at scenes like this as they’re driving through:

And then continues to park in the village, which looks like this:

And then heads off into the veld that looks like this?

Simply adding to the number of people the firefighters have got to look out for or save.

How many poor decisions do you have to take, one after the other, to get to that point?

Really, who needs to be told not to wander into the big, out of control fire?

And yet…

It’s the walking equivalent of the camouflaged cyclists.

Darwin Award nominees, all of them.

Honestly. Let them burn.