Senda Verde Permaculture Eco Center
Friday, 13 August 2010
Senda Verde survives massive forest fire, still an oasis of green
Portugal is in flames, on the 11th of August according to the mainstream national news more than 128 forest fires were burning. The Bombieros are stretched to maximum many of them having gone 3 days straight fighting forest fires. The sound of spotter planes and buzzing helicopters which seemed so novel just a few weeks ago had merged into the background white noise, then it was my turn for a close call.
Towards the South near Nelas a forest fire had been raging for a couple of days, plumes of acrid smoke chocked and made breathing a strain, then the wind turned and started blowing North East and the fires started getting closer to my Quinta.
My local fisherman friend came down and suggested I load up the landrover with the dogs and head up to the village, but the wind was pushing the fire towards me but on the opposite side of the Mondego river, I made a calculated decision and told him I was staying put for the time being. He headed up to the village on his motorbike and I made sure he understood to tell the bombieros that I was still down here, just in case it all went bad.
I sat and watched as the fire slowly engulfed the far side of my mountain valley, the wind pushing it along the ridge line and with the natural river barrier I thought maybe I could escape. Over the brow of a hill came another seperate fire front, pushing directly towards me, it still had to cross the river but it was low in the valley and I realised I was in trouble.
I jumped in the landrover and went up the track to view the danger zone only to meet the bombieros on their way down. The insisted I get out now, so I did a quick U turn and headed to pick up the dogs and essentials, said a small prayer to Senda Verde, Lilly the goat and Itsy the kitten and headed up to the community center in the village.
Im writting this at 4am, the house, the caravan, Lilly the goat and Itsy the cat are all ok, Ive not seen the damage done yet, but thank you to the Bombieros of Mangualde proffesionals and volunteers alike, your all hereos, thank you to the villagers of Cervaes for your kindness and support and thank you for letting me pick up the pieces, whatever they may be, and start again tomorrow.