Monte Christo burns – Brakwater saved from inferno by community efforts

fire front

Six kilometer wide fire front heading our way on Thursday night

Following on a recent post about fire-related misconceptions – here and on the Brakwater Neighbourhood Watch FB page, we’ve seen improved fire reporting in the area. Early last week there was a violent lightning storm in the mountains some 10 kms west of us which unfortunately was not accompanied by rain! Three mountain tops were struck by lightning within a half hour, and the resultant veldt fires quickly spread. One was brought under control fairly quickly by the local farmers, but the other two went wild. Blown on by fierce south westerly winds during the week, these fires destroyed huge tracts of veldt, and on Thursday one of them jumped the Goereangab river and headed in our direction – eventually with a front some 6 km wide! In spite of more than a hundred fire-fighters and several back-burning attempts, the wind was not helpful and we opted to fall back to the one and only scraped road on this particular farm – Monte Christo south – as a last stand between the inferno and our own property and other plot owners in Brakwater. That became an all-nighter, with a small team of about 12 people managing a back burn – thankfully with the wind dropping around mid-night.

On Friday morning the wind turned and threatened to jump our late night back burn. Fire brigade and neighbourhood volunteers were able to put this fire out during the day, and we finally got some much-deserved rest that evening.

fire can be very scarey!

back burning!

backburn along the only firebreak between our place and the big fire front

And the aftermath. We managed to stop the fire on our boundary. Monte Christo lost some 6000 hectares of veldt in this massive fire which took the community five days to bring under control.

fire aftermath

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