By Nadia Ali. The quiet night gave way to what sounded like a crackling noise coming from the garden. Was it a wild animal creeping into our living space from the nearby acres of bushes or was it a chicken hawk sitting on one of the branches of the tree? Either way, I was going to investigate. There in the distance was a line of bright light glowing under the dark sky. It was a line of bushfire that illuminated a vast area and was heading towards my house!
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Fire service on rest and reflection
Knowing the response of the fire service I opted for an early call, giving details of the location. Little did I know at the time that the services were on a period of rest and reflection for wage negotiations and went away unaware that I was on my own.
So, thinking it would take some time both before the fire services arrived or for the fire to be of any danger, I grabbed my camera and headed upstairs to get a better aerial view. The tall wild grass crackled and popped advancing slowly. The flames periodically shot high as if suddenly ignited by petrol.
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The fire wasn’t intense and there wasn’t a huge blaze with thunderous flames. It simply advanced in a semi-uniformed straight line, quietly and almost in an organised form. This is said to be typical of flat grassland fires which rarely reach the same intensity of firestorms.
According to the Forestry Division of Trinidad and Tobago, the term bushfire is defined as, fires burning in open, non-forested areas such as vacant lots in urban and semi-urban settings, roadsides and agricultural lands”. It is said to occur between January to May/June in any given year when sweet T&T experiences the dry season.
We stood in unity with garden hoses
As I stood upstairs looking out at the bushfire, half an hour had passed and I was beginning to get worried. So, I called the fire services again and waited. A further 15 minutes passed and it was time for action, so I put down my camera and grabbed the garden hose. The neighbours came out and did the same. We stood in unity with hoses pointed and water spraying across the back fence which didn’t seem to put a dent in the line of fire.
We could easily see the glow of light and hear the fire a lot more distinctly. It crackled, it simmered down and as we grew tired of holding our hoses the fire went out. Our brush with danger had come to an end and that night the rain fell hard and fast, as if to extinguish any further excitement with the dangerous yet beautiful bushfire.
April 2015 – Issue 15 www.sweettntmagazine.com
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