Monday, September 23, 2013


 Every year around this time, we have fires all around. There are many reasons why the local people light fires, some dealing with traditional farming beliefs- if we burn everything then the green will come (since when you burn things the green does tend to sprout quickly afterwards, though its mostly weeds and grass and you have burned alot of of the good stuff out!) some do it because they want to chase out the small animals- cane rats, etc to hunt, some do it for traditional/ cultural beliefs- if we burn the ancestors/gods/spirits/earth will be appeased and will send the rain in time for our crops to grow this year. Whichever way you look at it, they have a "good reason" for wanting to burn. The only problem is it is not only illegal here to light wildfires, but it is even more illegal (if that is an actual thing), to light them ON someone elses property (ie our farm) or to fail to keep it from crossing onto someone elses property (ie our farm!) 
 These are some pictures from the first weekend when we had fire on the farm, it was a raging blaze that in the end managed to burn nearly half of the forest within our farm boundary lines. 
 These pictures are taken near where the fire started, at the far end of our airstrip.  The only fire fighting equipment we have is green branches broken off of trees. Obviously this is not ideal, but Lynn and I decided to demonstrate how they are used on a few of the smaller fire areas.

 Obviously, once a fire gets this big, there is little our guys with branches can do. But they do what they can, try for as long and as hard as they can, but often we must resort to lighting a backburn and managing that, as it is safer for the guys.
One of our night guards, silhouetted against the fire.
 The next day the fire was still raging, but had now moved towards the front half of the farm, moving closer to the community. We had parked our truck and walked up this little road so we could investigate where and how big the fire had gotten at this point, but by the time we got close, we realized it was racing towards us, and the wind was changing direction, blowing it in the direction of the truck. We could see that the flames were HUGE and there was no way the guys could continue to fight, so we quickly made our way back to the truck. Fire scares me. It is like a LIVING thing. It is unpredictable and changes its mind on a whim (or on the wind's whim i guess), and it is destructive beyond what we can imagine. I am so grateful for the men who helped to fight the fire and man the back burn so the community homes were saved, and so our gardens (for the school and orphan kids), litchi plantation, animals (cows and sheep), farm buildings (carpentry shop etc) and homes were safe as well. 
 We decided to light a back burn, using our entry road, and the training centre as the firebreak.
 Backburn raging towards the fire. Rick and the guys manned this road for quite some time to ensure no sparks flew over and lit on the other side, the wind was strong and we had to be very careful.

 Of course the many small lizards, frogs, insects and creatures like this lovely little chameleon are the unintended victims of these fires. We saw this little guy trying to escape, but if you have ever seen a chameleon try to run its not a very quick process. ;) Rick picked him up so we could bring him home and put him in our garden where he would be safe. Here Ryan isnt quite sure what to do with him, he kept doing this half cry/half laugh kinda noise.. his mouth would smile but his eyes looked terrified. It was very cute. Eventually he decided the chameleon wasn't to scary after all.
I think this is his "thanks for saving me mr. rick" hug.

Fire season has not yet ended, we had another fire approaching the farm this weekend but it was contained before it crossed our boundary. 

Thank you so much for your prayers we appreciate them greatly!
Rick, Heather, Tendai and Ryan!

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