Returning from holiday in Provence on Sunday 22nd, the welcome was
a little warmer than expected, as a fire took hold in our neighbouring
village – more than 14,000 hectares have gone up in smoke and the air
has been alive with water bombers (Canadair bombardiers d’eau) battling
against the wind – the tramontane, which fueled the flames with gusts
of up to 100km – and then a dramatic ‘change of direction’ which drew
the line of fire directly to the ridge above us and shrouded our commune
in a thick cloud of smoke.
As the sun set on Monday evening we heard a siren, and saw lights flashing
on the mountain road – in heroic style, a police car arrived at our bridge
with a herd of Spanish cows and directed them to the safety of our field…
This morning, as day broke, planes and helicopters continued to spread
retardant and water – the extent of the devastation now becoming clearer
as life returns to ‘normal’, replacing the ‘high alert’ status that had us
preparing to evacuate and taking preventative measures, shocked by news of
the quick demise of surrounding villages (just across the border in Spain).