Veld fire reporting and mapping techniques in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, from 1941 to 2011

  • N Govender
  • O Mutanga
  • D Ntsala


Fire has long been regarded as a major determinant of ecosystem structure and function within African savannas. Improvements in fire detection, mapping and recordings of fire activity over the past few years have made it possible to provide more reliable information on the occurrence, spatial extent and intensity of fire. The Kruger National Park (KNP) has a long and well-documented history of fire management policies implemented and an accompanying fire incident record for the park. Since 1941 the KNP has gone through seven key fire reporting and mapping eras, each with its own strengths and weakness. During this time period there were three key changes that improved veld fire monitoring in KNP, namely (1) moving from hand-written to electronic reporting and mapping procedures, (2) mapping of fires as polygons and not as burn  blocks and (3) use of satellite images to improve the accuracies of boundaries of burnt areas. This paper outlines the succession, improvements and details the changes that have taken place in veld fire reporting and mapping techniques over seven decades in the KNP, in response to the needs articulated by the fire community, research and management in the park.

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2012, 29(2): 63–73

Author Biographies

N Govender
Scientific Services, South African National Parks, Private Bag X402, Skukuza 1350, South Africa
O Mutanga
Department of Geography, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa
D Ntsala
Bohlabatsatsi Information Management, Germiston 1401, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119