Wildfire

I was on my way back from a great walk down to the sea when I spotted a thin column of smoke in the forest up ahead. I was surpised that anyone would risk a bonfire in such dry conditions, and hurried to check that it was under control. Within seconds, the smoke was so much thicker and the base so wide, that it could not possibly be a controlled burn. We had another wildfire. I wanted to see exactly where it was, in case I had to phone it in, but as I came close, I could see that firefighters and estate workers were already out on the heath fighting it.

Several people had had the same idea as me, or were checking that their horses in fields nearby were safe. They told me that fires in the summer were not unusual, and could spread very fast. We have had weeks without rain, and it has been quite hot, so the gorse and the grass simply wants to burn.

By the time I reached home, the smoke was thinning and was soon gone, as several fire engines and teams from the estate had won.

Christopher Curtis Written by:

After a lifetime's work in education, Chris took early retirement and now lives in the New Forest, Hampshire, England