Monday, August 18, 2008

BUSHFIRE (and thats not S. African for Thrush)

On the 12th Aug we finally packed up from the Monkey sanctuary and drove back to Enkosini. Just as we got there in the dark we could see a bushfire near to the Enkosini fence. Mitch despatched one of the rangers to check it out and we sat down to in hois house ready to go out and fight it it required (at 1am in the morning). In the end we did not go out as it was (suposedly) not a danger to the reserve.

Ho! Ho! Ho! how wrong was that!

At about 10am the next morning we got an update on the fire. It was headed straight for Enkosini. So we had to all quickly pile into the toyato and get up to the fire as quick as possible.

FOr the next 6 hours we fought a running (running away quite alot of the time!) with the fire. I used to think a bush fire meant that the fire was in the bush. What it also means is that the main method of dealing with a it is to break off a branch of a nearby tree and start beating like your life depended on it (which in some cases it does). The only other thing we had was some weedkiller like backpacks filled with water.

My technique at the start was not the best. Rather than beating out the flames I tended to fan them or worse still find that my branch was shifting embers to start new fires behinh me! I eventually got the knack.

I can honestly say it was one of the most exhausting days of my life. Running up and down a mountainside trying to beat out flames with the only source of water a stream at the bottom of the hill.

Eventually we thought that it was completely out except for a fire down in the valley which they called out proper firemen for. When I say proper firemen what that really means is a large truck filled with men with proper firebeating sticks who just go around trying to beat out the fire in the same way we did.

Of course the next morning we found that the firemen had not done there job right and the fire was still burning. So up we went again for another couple of hours. This time we managed to put it out for good (I hope!)

I never ever want to go through that ordeal again. Bush fires aren't fun!

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