Bush fires

Despite living in Australia and Spain I’d never seen a bush fire before. Until this year.

In the space of a few weeks, we saw fires both on the way up and down the N340, perilously close to houses, flames leaping into the air, and helicopters desperately trying to drench the flames.

Apparently some 50% of fires in Australia may be caused deliberately.

And in Spain? Well, apparently 95% of fires are due to people, whether deliberate or otherwise.

Farming practices, deliberate arson, people throwing bottles or fag ends on dry and brittle vegetation = fire.

Spain apparently has suffered the driest winter for 40 years. No wonder there were bush fires in May.

And while we drove past the first one at La Duquesa, the one near Sotogrande was a definite no-no – and we were sent back up the road by the Guardia Civil to take an alternative route.

Smoke at La Duquesa

Flames at La Duquesa

Time to turn around. No arguing with the Guardia Civil

Flames taking hold near Sotogrande

Helicopters to the rescue

Helicopter drops water over the flames

Please people, never throw your cigarette ends out of the window, or chuck them anywhere, in fact don’t smoke. Don’t leave bottles lying around in dry areas, in full sun, dispose of them sensibly.

Or this is what happens. Burnt trees, burned ground, houses luckily surviving. Where everything was once green and full of life, it is now, burnt to death.


17 thoughts on “Bush fires

  1. Pingback: Hello :) | roughseasinthemed

  2. Those fires look bad, and if the wind whips them up, they’d become quite scary.
    It amazes me how stupid some folk are regarding dry land, I’ve seen some bad fires on the moors in the past.
    Doesn’t the helicopter look small in the vastness of the sky, it doesn’t look like the amount of water they dump would make any difference at all.

    • The wind had whipped up the second fire, it covered quite a large tract of land and on both sides of the road – hence it being closed to all traffic. I thought it was frightening how close to the houses both fires were.

      The heli pic does blow up a bit (it was my alternative choice for a header photo but the actual fire one worked out well). They were taking the water out of a nearby river – which fortunately is always full. Not sure how many helis there were, they get them mobilised pretty fast for the bush fires.

  3. Great photos. Until you see it’s effect, burn 5 things leave 1 randomly, it’s hard to imagine. Not many things frighten me, but a bushfire will do it. Just the smell makes me all tingly & alert. I’ve driven through burning bushfire areas twice, and once was on evacuation alert from my house on Sydney’s northern beaches. The bushfire got to the end of the street before they got it under control (big effort to do so as there was an aged care facilty in it’s path). My mind was just blank – all I could think to pack was the cats & the dog. So there I was standing (too stressed to sit) in a house with the windows packed with towels, with them in cages, on a lead, waiting for hours, watching one house but not another burn, across the lake.

    • Thanks ED. Lucky that any of them came out remotely well at all as we were driving past and we don’t do the ‘slow down to look at someone’s else’s misfortune’ syndrome. So I just kept clicking and hoped some would show the smoke/flames/damage/helis.

      A has seen the bushfires too of course, but he’s worked out bush and travelled around Aus a lot more than I did. How frightening for you though. My animals would have been my first (and maybe only?) thought. You can replace everything else with time. Glad they controlled it before it reached you. On a separate point the northern beaches are lovely, (Palm Beach?) and I guess because they are not so built up as the southern side, that would be why there was a fire?

      • The pics were great. Until you see what bushfire does, it’s hard to visualise. Palm Beach is lovely. I was renting an old house closer to city at Collaroy Plateau above Narrabeen Lake (& surrounding bush). The houses I watched burn were across the lake at Elanora Heights. Nearly all Sydney outskirts have bush & associated fire issues, & huge national parks to the south, and the Blue Mountains to the west have suffered hugely. Not to mention the rest of the country. I have some family stuff I would have packed to save had my brain not been paralysed.

        • I was pretty shocked with the first fire to see the flames and the extent of them (which I couldn’t capture because of travelling and not stopping). As for the second one, the damage was a lot more visible – and I think more extensive – it looks to me like something out of a futuristic film.

          I’ll have to look those locations up in Sydney. I do remember a few years ago (ie probably the nineties) reading about bush fires getting as far into Sydney as they had ever done. What’s worrying is the national park aspect – they can just be tinder. We camped in the southern one (Royal I think), and – apart from a huge spider running under my hand when we were leaning on a bridge which freaked the life out of me – how would you get out of there if a fire started? You wouldn’t. :( Same for the Blue Mts where we also camped. Stuck down in the valley bottom and trapped?

    • Good to hear I am not the only one with a somewhat rigid attitude. It puts so many lives and livelihoods at risk, and creates total devastation.
      I suppose beating them to a pulp would be cheaper than incarceration so probably a better idea.
      Thanks for taking the 4×4 track to come over here and comment.

  4. Fires can do so much destruction in a very short time. So sorry for the bush fires. What is really sad is most fires should never happen…people just need to think before they do things to cause fires. Fires should never be started on purpose and those who find pleasure in doing that should be punished to the max. We have been in drought here for a long time and we are also seeing a lot of fires. Hugs

    • I found the fires quite frightening. The flames grew bigger all the time and moved so quickly covering more and more ground. I wasn’t surprised to see the amount of devastation the second one had caused, but it looked so surreal. Like a Dali painting.

      Thanks for visiting and following JLR.

    • Absolutely. We were coming down the peaje after the redirection which is why I got the helicopter pix with the water carriers just on that bottom stretch. I was stunned when I saw the devastation next trip up, and yet, within weeks the amount of green shoots and regrowth was astounding.

      I thought that was a big fire, but the pic you have taken is seriously frightening. Glad I’m not going up the coast this weekend.

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