The sky burned a deep orange, turning light apricot win patches of passing clouds. It was a sweet hue to a sky that offered no reprieve from the truth below it. Flames licked at the trunks around the tall trees that lined the river’s edge, the water itself steaming on the surface. Sparks drifted up and caught on ferns and bushes as the wildfires spread.
The rangers had been watching the weather for weeks – ever since the news reported that a dry, hot July looming in the forecast. But even they, as they alerted their residents and placed signs where people might pay attention, could not have imagined the devastation to unfold.
The woods were alight. Well established greenery uprooted and sent to the apricot skies in great plumes of angry smoke. The moss dried brittle and black, patches of flowers and scrub, now piles of ash.
The fire patrols had arrived from the neighboring town to support Oost’s volunteers, Great burly men packed into a steady stream of trucks and tankers pouring from the tunnel at the harbor. Sirens blazing, warning lights signalling a call to action that meant serious business.
One by one each would dismount his ride, wipe his brow and look to the apricot sky as though to steady himself for the hot hell awaiting. The Bear was already clutching his own hose, having finished his shift at the rental office early, to take up arms against a foe that was spreading fast.
The heatwave may be due to last only a few days, they said. But the destruction left in its wake would take more time and more manpower to heal. Those who had answered the call took a deep breath before stepping into the breach once more. They had flames to wage against, wildlife to rescue and homes to save. It would be a long night under an ash red moon, before morning would come and the burnt sun would shed its light on a scored earth. It would be one hell of a fight to save neighbors, and friends, and to heal home.
*The Oost Wildfires are a summer event running mid July 2019 – don’t worry we’ll replant and bounce back better and bushier than ever 🙂 In the meantime, don your coveralls (from the big red box in the Rangers’ stations) and share your pics on our official flickr group.