Co-incidentally, 2½ weeks ago I had mentioned to RMan that, after the rains which had fallen in June and July, the risk of fires breaking out in summer, especially on the mountainsides was great. And the well-watered, abundant vegetation would be in prime fire condition.
We are also concerned about the vacant smallholdings round us - to the point that RMan decided to create a firebreak on the one closest to us. A lot of smallholdings here have been purchased as investments - which means that the owners rarely, if ever, visit. They therefore have no idea what a potential risk their empty smallholdings are to the inhabitants - especially where fire is concerned.
Our local fire brigade has an small, old water tanker - which needs refilling often. Although our dam would be put to use in that situation, it would not help someone whose property is 3 - 5 kms away. We even considered purchasing a portable water pump - the only drawback of that is managing to find flexible fire hoses to fit the pump. Normal 25mm irrigation hose is definitely too rigid for that purpose.
|The firebreak, although small, will certainly|
help delay a veld fire.
Literally, two days later we noticed smoke over the hills and near the mountains - was it a "controlled burn" that got away from a farmer when the wind picked up? We have no idea.
|Not a good sight to behold when you don't have|
access to an efficient fire brigade and are
located too far away for choppers to be called
Photo credit: Dan Wessels
|The fire travelled against the wind and up a mountainside|
That evening the fire travelled up the mountain...
|The state of the fire at dusk|
...and, when I rose at 1.30a.m. to check on it, this is what it looked like...
|Fire always looks worse at nighttime - especially|
as one's depth of field is impaired by the lack of
It hung around our side of the mountain for 2 days before the north westerly wind shifted to the south east and sent the fire heading north over the mountain towards Barrydale.
|The wildfire approaching Barrydale|
Photo credit: Fran Hunziker
Thankfully, five days ago, we had a little rain - sufficient to quell the flames.