Monday, 9 September 2013

Mountain Fires

Vigili di Fuoco at work
We saw our first ever summer mountain fires back in August 2007 whilst staying in Ravello - there seemed to be one every other day - and it was fascinating to watch the Vigili di Fuoco's seaplanes in action, swooping down to the sea to scoop up quantities of water before winging their way up the mountain & dropping their payload.  And now we live in the Cilento, fires have become a
common occurrence - there have been 3 fires on our mountain in the past 3 days.  However, fires are not confined to the summer months - one of the most dramatic happened on 1st December 2011 (I was away on a trip to the UK) & hubby captured this late afternoon shot.....
Fire below Castellabate
And for me personally, the most dramatic was the one that threatened our garden on 8th October last year......
Danilo using our garden hose to little effect
Someone living down in Case del Conte decided it would be a good idea to bring their olive nets home to burn in the garden. Obviously, olive nets are going to be highly flammable, having contained the fruit of the harvest for several years. The bonfire was out of control within a few minutes of starting &, after a hot summer, the flames soon spread up the mountain. As they came ever closer, our driveway began to fill up with cars - first to arrive was Danilo, our nearest neighbour, who grabbed our garden hose & ran to the edge of the garden to start an attempt to keep the flames at bay. He was swiftly followed by members of our adoptive family - Maria, Raffaella & Erminio had seen the flames encroaching from their homes down in Ogliastro Marina & so came to check that we were OK.  Erminio took one look and shot back off down the mountain to ask the Vigili di Fuoco to bring 
the fire tender up to Il Sogno to fight the flames. Within a couple of minutes we had 5 firefighters up here, connecting to our reserve tank & pumping water like crazy.

Firemen in our garden & not a 'hot' one among them!
However, it soon became obvious that the hoses were not going to extinguish the flames & the decision was taken to call in reinforcements - cue the helicopter....
Vigili di Fuoco's helicopter heads straight for hubby as he takes this shot
Watching the helicopter swoop down in Ogliastro bay to scoop up seawater & then head directly for Il Sogno was one of the most surreal moments in my life; hubby was out there with his camera & the helicopter pilot seemed to aim straight for him in a game of
'chicken' when he saw the camera pointed in his direction. Three visits to Ogliastro bay later, the flames were doused, the helicopter returned to base & the firemen had a cigarette break whilst filling the tender from our reserve water tank. Yes, that's right, having just put out a fire on the mountain, they stood in my garden puffing away - the irony was not lost on me.


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