Return to Fire Mountain
Last week I was in Ireland to visit my place in the country.
The trees are coming on well:
The barn is also looking good:
At the beginning of the week, all looked peaceful on the mountain:
On Wednesday night I got a call to tell me that the mountain was on fire to the west. Fortunately it was a calm night and the Fire Brigade were able to stop the flames just short of my western border. Note the burned ground to the right:
However, on Thursday afternoon, around 14:00, I noticed that the fire had reignited itself up near the top of the mountain. See the smoke in the photo above.
One of my foresters and I went up the mountain and watched as the flame front advanced towards my boundary. It moved slowly against the wind:
Having watched this for over an hour, I telephoned the Fire Brigade, since it showed no sign of stopping and seemed like too much for the two of us to tackle with spades.
Then my forestry expert arrived and started back-burning. He set fires in front of the wildfire and had us beat out those flames on the side closest my boundary. In this way the wildfire advance was stopped and it split into two fronts advancing to the East and West.
Then the Fire Brigade and some neighbours arrived. They tackled the Eastern fire front first while the foresters and I kept the Western front from spreading South:
Remember that the mountainside to the West has burned the night before so there was no more fuel in that direction.
So in the end my place was saved and left surrounded by ashes:
The souther side of the mountain was also burned but I don't know if that happened overnight or on Thursday afternoon:
We were very lucky that the wind stayed from the North and slowed the advance of the flames.
It was news to me that fires can advance into the wind. There was plenty of fuel and the wind kept fanning the flames.
I am also surprised to learn that you can beat out grass fires with a spade, in the right circumstances. My spade had the shortest handle, but I had gloves!
All in all, it has been an education for me. Particularly, having to watch the fire advance slowly towards me while thinking that a water-pump would be handy right about now.