Of Earthquakes and Campo Fires

It was a strange day yesterday. As I sat at my desk waiting for inspiration to leap out of the screen, grab me by the throat and make my fingers dance across the keyboard, the windows shook in their frames. I thought perhaps the house was possessed. It turns out it was an earthquake, on the coast some 100km+ away. I don't know how these things work, but a neighbour who does confirmed the earthquake theory. No need for an exorcist. They had pictures fall from the walls. I toddled off to the village with another neighbour for coffee and market day.

The wind from the previous days had completely vanished in the morning, a blue sky, warm sun and birds singing their hearts out. By lunchtime (2.30) the wind had started to pick up on my side of the valley. It was a warm wind but it swirled and it was strong. It was even stronger by 5.30 when a neighbour on the other side of the hill called me about a huge cloud of smoke. Campo fire.

This is when we have to be grateful for the rain, hail and other precipitation we have had this month. Whilst I was bemoaning cold temperatures, wind and rain little did I know how pleased I would be later. The rainfall has made the hillsides green. The earth is still dry but the vegetation was not as dry and tinder-like as it could have been. The wind got stronger, swirled and the fire hopped across the ridge and onto my side of the hill. We called the fire brigade.

They didn't send the helicopter with its bucket full of water but men with huge fly-swats. They came and beat the flames down. By that point I could hear the crackling of the trees and shrubs as they started to ignite. The wind was strong, we were lucky that they got it under control so quickly.

This was a minor fire. We were fortunate.

I'm not going to complain about rain again... well, not too much anyway.

The next morning. The fire started at the bottom left


...with the aid of the wind the fire hopped over the ridge
starting a few smaller ones

The men with beaters turn up

...and do a sterling job

...and by sunset the fire is mostly out.
The men stay for a few more hours  and put out a couple of small restarts.
(Apologies for the blurriness but the wind kept blowing the bamboo in the way)