Monday, January 28, 2008

What's the point of having wooden fire extinguishers in a deep forest?

Problem: how to reduce the wild fires that ravage Table Mountain every summer. Solution: install wooden fire extinguishers that are completely useless.

It’s not as dumb as it sounds… Porky Hefer (yes, we know) and Warren Lewis of Animal Farm, a creative consultancy in Cape Town, came up with the idea to highlight the plight of the already stretched Fire Department in charge of the mountain. Every summer, Table Mountain suffers from huge wild fires. Some are natural “but a large portion of these start with a human spark of stupidity or carelessness,” says Hefer.

So Animal Farm decided to install 65 wooden extinguishers in the Table Mountain National Park, with a focus on fire hot spots, picnic areas and along all major walking trails, to make the point that it is almost impossible to stop a wild fire once it has started. Using a real fire extinguisher on one would be as effective as using this wooden one. The only way to stop the fires is to prevent them. The instructions on the label are all about how people can prevent fires.

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