Friday, 6 May 2011

Hoping For Rain

It's not often in the UK that we pray for rain, but after having the driest and hottest April on record we are. Over Easter the beautiful Swinley Forest behind my house caught fire, whether it was an accident or malicious we just don't know but it has now been burning for over a week and some believe it has been burning for even longer under the ground.  All the roads between Bracknell and Crowthorne are closed (which has caused a bit of mayhem getting to work) and fire crews are working around the clock to keep the flames and heat at bay. These are photos from getbracknell.

When we first heard about it we were initially worried, bearing in mind there is only a road, dirt track and a row of houses between us and the forest.  Fortunately for us, but sadly not for others the wind is blowing the fire away from us towards Crowthorne.  A lot of people in that direction have been evacuated from their homes for their own safety, I just hope the fire brigade can get it under control and they can go home soon.

It seems really weird having a massive forest fire just down the road.  I know the forest like the back of my hand and have ridden and walked there all my life, to see it plastered all over the news is quite shocking.  On Monday I took a walk down Nine Mile Ride (the road down the back of house which is closed) with Mum to see what was going on and although we didn't see any flames we saw an awful lot of smoke.  We didn't get too far down the road before the police stopped us so we headed to Ceasers Camp (a high plateau in the forest) instead to see if we could spot anything, this s the view we got, it is pretty much the same from my bedroom window too.

On Wednesday Dad took a ride into the forest and somehow managed to bypass all the police to speak to the firebrigade.  This a photo he took of the huge tractor used to dig up the ground and prevent the fire from spreading.

They also said that even though the flames are out the peat on the ground is still burning and a small gust of wind will push it onto the brush and set alight again.  I heard the news this evening that they have finally surrounded the fire so can now deal with cooling everything down.  Another photo of my Dad's below of the smouldering forest floor.

Big thanks go out to all the fire crew from around the South who are working around the clock.  It's forecasted to rain tonight it would really help them out, so lets keep our fingers crossed.