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Monday, October 08, 2007

the forest, dry season and fires

Camillo and I returned to Friburgo this weekend after 7 weeks of social commitments in Rio, special assignments for the class at PUC, and travel to Spain. We found it so dry here. The aggressive greens of the forest have turned to droopy browns. The underbrush is deep brown and very crispy looking. Last February we had so much rain that the resulting mud slides left the surrounding hill sides scared and bare. It was common to have boulders just break loose from the wet soil and roll down onto the roads. Now it seems that the dryness is causing the same type of slides.
We keep a 3 meter firebreak cleared around our property's perimeter but we have had in other, less dry years, fire right up to the edge and this year is much more dangerous. Lucia (the maid and source of local gossip) says we haven't had rain (measurable amounts) in six months. As you can see in the photos, the hillsides are now scared with burned sections of forest. This bit of fire burned all day yesterday, not moving quickly but definitely out of control (unsupervised as no one lives there). You could tell that the smoke had crept over the top - a result of smoke and flame the day before on the other side.
Incredibly yesterday afternoon someone was burning (from long habit and lack of smarts) trash on the road just below us. Any amount of wind would have swept it right out of control. To top this all off perfectly, Lucia also said the the locals who tap into the surface water, don't drill wells or have city services, do not have water at all in their homes - bottom line - there is no fire prevention or fire fighting capability in place. Pray for rain. GingerV

1 comment:

  1. I had to go into the guts of the blog and "hit" publish again. Then it came up on the blog for me. Really nice. I see you aligned the photos and text perfectly. You will have to show me.