Pauls’ eyes were shining with happiness when I explained to him, that he would spend the whole afternoon with me at the University. A long time he has wanted to go with his dad to work. It was the perfect afternoon for him. Later we had dinner together and finally I also bedded him. “Where are mom and Jakob?” he asked at the dinner, “Mom will come home late today”. I told him.
Shortly before ten in the morning, Nadia received a call from Los Cascabeles. There were fire breakouts at least at three different spots on the mountain, the wind today was very strong and pushed the fire along very fast. Our two Rangers could not take this alone.
Without success, Nadia contacted the forest ministry and the municipal administration. Until calling the Sutiava volunteer fire brigade she had success and fortunately our seasoned driver was not busy today. Nadia collected hastily water,and supplies and they drove to the finca. She had to take three year old Jakob with her, because the baby sitter was not available today. We agreed by phone, that I would pick up Paul from school and take care of him in the afternoon.
Still at a four kilometers distance from the fires, the two firefighters raised alarm at the firehouse asking for any backup, they could get, because the whole mountain is burning – in fact we would need an airplane with fire extinguishing equipment, but there does not exist such a thing here.
In the end, together with our two rangers and the additional voluntary fire fighters there were elven person in action in the rough terrain. among them two young women.
Three of the unexercised volunteers had to be provided with medicine, because they could not bear with the strain of the steep hike and the movement in the terrain under the fierce heat we had today in León. In the afternoon, two of the man pass out because of the sustained strain. In case of our ranger, the overfatigue aggravates, he is in action almost without rest since yesterday. The also seam to be smoke poisoned. Nadia arranges for them to be brought down the hill with the mule, together with the exhausted women.
Already in deep darkness, approximately at eight in the evening, most fires are under control. The fire fighters move out and Nadia takes them all back to León, with the exception of the rangers.
Tomorrow we must get hold of more people who can help with the firefighting already early in the morning. At night the wind calms down, but tomorrow we expect again strong winds and the fire will raise again from the ember spots.
This time big damage is done. A wealth of adult trees fell pray to the fire, but also tree population which has come up in the last five year is severely damaged. Still, our fire stopping lanes and the fire extinguishing activity, enabled by the fund raising campaign, helped to prevent the worst. It was possible to keep out the fire from the dense forest on the lower hill slope. We cannot estimate the damage yet and we have to count with an aggravation of the situation the day of tomorrow.
At least one of the fire was laid by poachers. When our rangers approached the forest fire they spotted a fleeing man. We suspect it to be someone from the neighborhood.
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Paul fell asleep pleasantly after the bedtime story. Nadia came home with little Jakob an hour later. He was very close to the fire and the agitation and he is sad and angry: “But the fire is still burning”, he cries in rage. We comfort him as good as we can: “The rangers will continue putting out the fire tomorrow, Jakob!”. Terribly tired he falls asleep in the arms of Nadia.