Friday, August 29, 2008

Fire fighters

Fire fighters
Originally uploaded by Paul Grand
After a long days photographic shoot in the Aude hills I saw this huge plume of smoke along the distant coastline.
Naturally, I had to investigate and take pictures.
People were pulling up all along the narrow country lanes, Staring up in awe. It was like something from a
Ray Bradbury story, 'Rocket Summer'.
Where the heat from Rocket plumes change an icy winter's day into a warm summer, albeit a short lived one.

Driving closer the plume, we could see it widening by the second, fanned by fast changing winds, it was the maritime pine forest burning along the Massif Fontfroide.

Eventually I came to a village called
St Andre de Roquelongue, where a huge garrison of fire fighters were preparing to engage the fire.
Red fire trucks were filling their water tanks outside the huge wine co-operative and leaving in groups of a dozen or so. A helicopter relayed information.
It was a massive undertaking. Strangely, the country lane up to the fire wasn't blocked, so, I drove up, only to be turned back by a group of serious looking French police at at another junction.
Before leaving I took a few more pictures, which I'll upload later.

Today, reading the local paper, I see that 130 hectares of Corbières maritime pine forest were consumed by the flames, along with two fire engines.

One hundred and thirty firefighters, six Canadair firefighting planes were employed plus two water planes and four trackers.
It still burns, virulently.
The cause, unknown.

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