I look at the pictures of the forest fires and can’t help thinking what it’s like when at an instant’s notice one has to leave behind everything one has built up and leave it to its destruction. And that is probably still the better scenario than having to flee for one’s life.
As I have spent my life in regions where there has not been a shortage of rain, I couldn’t really appreciate how quickly something like this happens. Nevertheless I was brought up to be very careful with every open source of fire. The only frightening experience during my childhood was when my parents woke me in our holiday house in the middle of the night. I had to put on my hat, trousers, pullover and gloves and then breathe fresh air outside in order to be able to continue sleeping in my clothes. It was November and the windows in our bedrooms were wide open. The burner of the petrol heater in the only heated room where we all slept was going crazy and we would have been close to suffocating in the gases, if my mother had not woken up at the right time. But that had less to do with fire than with a lack of fire.
Now I’m in Tessin again and there can observe the other way of dealing with fire and the traces of the forest fires. It is October. The nights are cool, the lake has cooled down and only the few hardy people still dare to swim. I am underway with my stand-up paddle, dressed appropriately and enjoying the sun, the wonderful temperatures around 20 degrees and the peace. There are not many waves, because there are very few boats on the water. This is how I want to be on the water every day. To avoid putting away my inflatable board every day and then having to re-inflate it the next day, I leave it chained to the landing stage over night.
The next morning I can’t believe my eyes. Over night the landing stage has been partially burnt down and two fire engines had to come to control the fire. Mv inflatable board had simply been lucky. It was still there, chained and undamaged. But it was not far from ending like the plastic trough, which stood at the end of the landing stage and now had melted like a bizarre sculpture to a lump. The workers are already removing the traces and making the landing stage accessible again.
It was a cigarette carelessly thrown way. I would never have thought that something like this could happen so easily and quickly, and that on a landing stage made of massive wood standing above the water.
It requires respect for fire. And also a bit of good luck.
Bildquelle: Bild “Feuer”: 110stefan / pixelio.de