Wednesday, 6 February 2013

They walk amongst us

Today dawned bright and sunny, and I was up early as usual working on my daily chores.
Just before lunch, I smelled smoke that had a burning electrical scent.  Looked outside towards the abandoned quarry, and there was black smoke rising quickly into the air.
Decided I would have my lunch and keep an eye on the smoke situation. Fell asleep after eating, and woke up shortly afterwards to the sound of loud crackling and popping noises.
"Oh no, not again!!"   I cried.
Yes, some "damn foolio" was at it AGAIN!!!  Burning their rubbish in the quarry, and the fire had got out of control.
A ton of acrid smoke loaded with ash was headed my way.

Acrid black smoke

Flames shooting high into the air

I immediately called 311, and I was so perturbed that I could not even give the dispatcher the location of the fire.
"Please calm down Madam, and tell me the location of the fire."  I finally managed to calm myself down and give the location.
"Oh please hurry, some houses are in danger."
"The truck has been dispatched Madam, it will be there soon."
Trees were falling in the path of the burning flames, and dogs were barking in fright.
I saw the flames burning a path nearer and nearer to the houses. The families were away at work, school, running errands.
Realising I could track down the neighbour whose house is behind mine, by calling his business, I did so, and begged him to come home urgently, which he did.
We made sure our hoses were ready to keep a steady flow of water on the edges of our property until the firemen arrived.
The fire trucks with their wailing sirens appeared soon after, and the firemen started to work their magic.
The wind was against them, and they diligently fought all afternoon and into the evening trying to get it under control.

Smoke filled neighbourhood

Concerned neighbours having a serious chat about the events

My neighbour whom I had called to come home, said to me that he had previously spoken to a guy who was burning wire cabling in the quarry, and told him to stop this practice.  Apparently the scrap metal collectors burn the wire to get at the copper inside, which they sell for a tidy profit.
How many houses would have gone up in flames today for a tidy profit?

Sometimes, I shake my head in disbelief at the thought that these "idiots" live and walk amongst us, breathing the same air that we do, and drinking the same water, but with some kind of inherited stupidity that will never leave them.

It's now almost 10pm, and another fire truck has just returned with additional water to aid in extinguishing this fire.  They have been fighting this beast since early afternoon.
I will not be able to lay my head to rest comfortably until all traces of the flames have been extinguished.
The sofa is all mine tonight. This way, hopefully Brownie will settle down for some sleep. He has been agitated all evening, and understandably so.

Kudos once again to the brave and tireless men/women of the fire service, who risk their lives to save the lives and property of others.

Update: Thursday February 7, 2013
Today, the fire has been extinguished, but the area is still smouldering.
In the light of day, one can now see the destructive path that the fire took in its quest to destroy.

A path of destruction

Indiscriminate illegal dumping was all a part of the problem too, since the items seen here are easily combustible. This area is what kept the firemen busy until late last night.

 Burnt trees still standing for now.

The smouldering smoke will continue for a few days, so I will be keeping the windows at the back of the house closed, but I will continue to enjoy a brisk breeze from the north facing windows. At least some clean air is available....I'm thankful for that.


  1. I really feel for you. Here in New Zealand and many parts of Australia (which has also ironically had severe flooding) there have been total fire bans and lots of scrub and forest fires and whole villages burned to the ground. It is thought that some of the fires have been started deliberately. The people who started your fire were stupid and greedy but what sort of people start fires which consume whole forests and villages and lives?

  2. I've been hearing about awful brush fires that have been raging in both Australia and New Zealand, with many people losing their homes.
    Here, in the dry season, there are always fires raging...some deliberately started, and some from the intense sun rays on very dry vegetation.
    The old ritual of setting fires to the cane fields to get rid of rodents still goes on somewhat.
    I guess a neighbourhood meeting is in order to see if we can catch these culprits that started yesterday's fire.


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