Senda Verde Permaculture Eco Center

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Biggie 2...just when you thought it was safe to go back on the farm

Sunday 13th August, day two of the biggie.

The far bank of the Mondego had practically burnt to a cinder, there was not much left to go and I was feeling like I might have escaped. Rob had been over to inspect the damage, we had been for a cofeee and smoked a cigar and congratulated ourselves on getting away with it. At around 2pm the wind did a complete reversal from blowing from the South West to howling like a banshee from the North East. It skipped over the Mondego river without pause and started in my direction in earnest.

I was sitting on the computer, drink in hand thinking that Senda Verde was a blessed place when I started to see horrid acrid smoke fly past the window. I ran outside and onto the house roof and realized that it wasnt over the nightmare was only just starting.

I managed to wave down a helicopter, Id see this guy many times pulling water from my river over the last two weeks and always gave him the thumbs up and a cheery fist salute. This time I had a sheet and was waving it madly and pointing to the ridge line, jumping around like a mad man. He did his best, he pulled 8 bucket loads from the river in front and dropped it on the lower ridge line, the area that would potentially stop the fire from crossing the small river where I draw my drinking and irrigation water from. He circled me after 8 loads, seemingly saying, "sorry mate I can do no more" and headed off to save a village or something.

I turned the landrover for a fast getaway, started her up, put the wee man and carmela in the back, shut the caravan, loaded the tractor and all I could find into the barn, gave the cat a bucket of water and chucked two buckets onto her mezzanine floor area. I ran with lilly down to her animal house and did the same trying to clear as much loose hay and burnable crap out of the stall. I left her with a kiss, some water and a prayer.

I took my last photo as the fire engulfed an old ruin that sits at the same hight as my water fall pool. I decided that when it reached there I had to go, I wasnt so sure about the geography on this one and the road out of Senda Verde runs very close to the ever rising fire line. I realized I was pushing my luck, so with one more snap I got Joe in the car and we raced upwards to the village and the community center for another 24 hours of nail biting waiting.

I was allowed back down at 4am Sunday morning, I managed to kick the door in on Lillys house, it was burning up when I got there and I got her out, the poor thing was in shock but shes gone to Rob and Fis with fresh green grass and lots of love. Im going to visit with Maggie on Wednesday and I hope theres no lasting damage and Maggie can give her a good check up, physically she was fine on the outside.

The cat seemed like nothing had happened which is a blessing, the barn and the house got hit very little, a tribute to swales and decent irrigation.

I have some videos which I will post when I have some time, some powerful pieces of nature red in tooth and claw.

Life goes on, ive still got 5 or 6 raised beds with plants growing and tomorrow I hope to fix some sort of irrigation system so they dont die a slow death, Im down to my last 500 lts in the tanks so its a water tonight and tomorrow and then I better get some water from somewhere.
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  1. hi uncle fraser cant wait to come

  2. Shit, I didn't realise it was so close! I heard that Marion burn't her foot badly in the embers though.
    I see the firemen hanging out in the Capela viewing spot near my track every night and the water planes fly over daily in the summer - a reassuring sight, what would people do without them? Anna


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