“Fire Dragon” crosses Pachamama Land

“Fire Dragon” crosses Pachamama Land

‘Fire Dragon’ approaches Pachamama Forest Retreat.

We had been on fire warning, since the fire jumped the “Seven Passes Road” at around four o’clock on Tuesday 30th October 2018. This fire was coming toward us like a huge Dragon.

This was scary to look at! We were surrounded.

Back at Pachamama Forest Retreat, we spent the day frantically clearing brush from around the houses and woodchipping all dry material. We also cut down some trees that were a bit too close to the buildings for comfort,  basically preparing for the fire, because it was coming our way and we wanted to do everything we could to prevent the structures from burning.

Clearing firebreaks.

We packed all our valuables like computers and phones and clothes and a bunch of stuff which we thought would be good to save. We got all the equipment out into the open, under wet sweat lodge blankets.

This picture was taken on the morning of the fire, four hours before the fire crossed the land.

Finally, as we could hear the fire approaching, we wet the buildings and the areas around them until the fire was too close for comfort to stay. …….. We Evacuated.

We have evacuated to the road.

We had evacuated the property in fear of a crown fire coming from the pine forest. We were told by authorities, not to take the tractor into the land and try to fight the fire, it was too dangerous. And it certainly felt that way. There were a few bakkies on standby and PG Bison team were fighting the fire around the back of the property along the Escom firebreak.

Hari Om. I let go.

By this time I have already let go, I thought we were going to lose everything and when this photo(above) was taken I thought the fire had already taken the ceremony space because this is what I had seen(below) moments ago. And the wind was gusting to gale force.

The fire approaching, with the wind blowing directly at the Ceremonial space at 14H35

But I had to go back, to try and find Magic the cat.  We had all the other animals accounted for, but I had not been able to find the Black cat, “Magic”.

“Magic” Jaguar cat

I ran back into the fire zone and found him pretty quickly. I grabbed him (he doesn’t like to be held) and he scratched me when I insisted he come with. I wrapped him in a blanket and put him in my car.

Groundfire approaching the new building.

But now, I had seen the fire up close and it wasn’t a crown fire, it was coming thru the undergrowth. And even though the wind was blowing hard, it was not blowing on the fire. The wind was sweeping over the tops of the trees. The fire I was seeing, didn’t have the same face that it had when it was coming thru the pine forest toward us earlier.

Our Fire Engine

We decided to go in and fight! Werner, Tadiwa and I(Nishi) drove the Tractor and Firefighting gear to the Opá and started to fight the fire that was surrounding the Opa. Once we were inside(the forest), I called for help on our local Whatsapp network and 8 or 9 Bakkie Sakkies, mostly from the surrounding community, pitched up to help pretty fast.

Some of the Fire Fighters who arrived to help.

The fire had jumped the firebreak from the P.G.Bison Pine plantation behind Pachamama at 14h35. With much help from local firefighters and their ‘bakkie sakkies‘, we had the fire under control by 18H30. We then spent the evening putting out small fires and wetting the smouldering ground around the property. A bunch of Bibishoek supporters and our volunteers all arrived to help with mop-up operations and their help was so appreciated!

“Mopping up”, Jake, putting out small fires and smouldering patches.

Some scary moments, but no-one was injured and we never lost any buildings, not even a beehive. Our Tractor got stuck in reverse and needed some attention and we burned an extension cable. We were exhausted but happy and we felt good about saving the Farm from complete destruction.

However, this is not the end of the story. Although we had saved Pachamama structures from burning, we were to be fighting fire off of the boundaries with many people for a further five days. But this story is about the day we saved Pachamama from fire and I will continue with the follow-up story in a few days,  a story of how the community came together to defend Kraaibosch from destruction.

If you enjoyed reading this story? Please consider contributing to the Pachamama Forest Retreat, Fire emergency, Funding Campaign  and help us to recover from this fire and regrow a “Forest corridor”.

7 Replies to ““Fire Dragon” crosses Pachamama Land”

  1. Great story Nixiwaka! Many thanks also for keeping us so abreast of the events as they unfolded. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing you pranaaming at the sign thinking that the fire was already burning the opa. At that time in New Jersey I also had to give up, thinking that all the structures and the sawmill would likely go. I sat down to do three maalaa’s of the ganesh mool mantra, which says ‘O Ganesh, remover of obstacles and granter of boons, please control and permeate all the things of my experience.’ Took about an hour, when I checked again the fire had past through and all the structures were saved… just sayin. Doesn’t take away from the quick thinking and hard work that it took to save pachamama and no doubt much of Kraaibosch. So a huge thank you to all concerned and may the new fingers of the forest flourish!

  2. Wow, what a story! Well done Nixi and team, and everyone praying for safe passage! Phew that must have been seriously intense- physically, emotionally, psychologically ! Heroes you are! Happy to contribute. Pachamama will grow her forest again. xxx

  3. Amazing story.
    We lost our home to a fire in the Craggs twenty years ago.
    Lost everything but we survived.

  4. Holy smoke! What a gripping story and what relief to hear you saved your structures and beehive. Unbelievable! Love and prayers with you and your team. I would love to visit some day.

  5. Thanks for taking the time to post this story, it must represent the story for so many others who have been affected too but have been unable to tell of it.
    Happy all are well, the trees will grow again as they do….

  6. I was thinking of u guys the whole time..of u guys, Marj them..My friends in Rheenendal..u had ure house destroyed once by fire Nixi..GOOD ON U GUYS fighting the firedragon..and all tx to going back to fetch ure tiny jaguar! What a blessing..wish I was that side to gift u some fruit trees to replace the burnt foliage..I pray the rains regrow all beautifully!!! Glad u sent msg so I gud find out exactly what happened..was worried bout all of u, when I heard how widespread fires were..CONGRATS on saving pachamama forest retreat!! U guys are real warriors! More power to u guys@ and many many blessing! Fullove!!!!

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