..7.30am Sunday 10th
As Casais waits the wind picks up and the fire takes on another
side almost animal like as it roars though the forest. I begin to
feel the hairs on my neck stand up as the fire races over the hill
and we hear the crackle of burning wood and shrub. The helicopters
try to keep it from expanding but as the wind picks up so does the
fire and by 10.25 its obvious that the fire is getting out of control,
the first of the water bombers arrives...
It is now a game of survival and good fortune as all of us realize
that the front is so huge that it is impossible to extinguish...Its
moving fast to the West and as it rolls and bellows...
...There is a renewed faith in the arrival of the bombers who continue
to circle for one hour but then at 11.20am. they disappear. Silence
No planes no helicopters only the whoosh of burning leaves and the
crackle of wood bark!
Five minutes later the helicopters are back and we in the village
all look at one another to ask where are the planes? Its not that
we don't admire the abilities of the helicopter pilots but now at
this vital time its a question of how much water you can get on
to the fire to stop it reaching the road ....
My grandfathers phrase of 'pissing on a bonfire' comes to mind
as I watch the efforts of the dedicated Bomberos fight a loosing
next part of story
Sunday 10th August 2003..
... as the wind increases we all know it will be to the West of
the village and as the fire came up the valley it forms a huge fire
ball which is creating its own climate in front of its path and
from which there will be no way of stopping it reaching the tree
rich mountain top far beyond.
I was 10 meters away from the fire ball that went through the
town and I would like to dedicate the next few images to all those
who watched this devastating fire ball shoot past at 40/50 km. and
who still stayed to fight this animal.
I realised as I watched the people evacuate and leave the lonely
fire engine that it was damage limitation and that the fire could
not be stopped.... Our peace was shattered at 11.40 as the fire
broke the road and within seconds had consumed thousands of animals,
insects and trees as it raced unchecked into the mountain...