Earth. Wind. Fire.

wildfire 1HERE comes a fire, crackling and ripping across hillsides of dry scrub and brown grasses. First we see smoke and hear sirens. Then flashes of flame high on the Sierra Nevada foothills. And the wind roars through the olive groves, and the sky turns brown, and all we can do is stand on the roof and watch . . .

Northern England and Scotland have had their record floods. Southern Spain is veering towards one of its driest winters in history, immediately following its hottest summer since records began.

No doubt in my mind about the devastating effects of climate change. No doubt, either, that those in denial are either wilfully ignorant or possess a recklessly selfish vested interest in short-term gain.

How many climate-change deniers are mopping out their wrecked homes or watching these fires sweep across the slopes above Órgiva? Not many, I bet.

wildfire 2wildfire 3wildfire 4wildfire 5Another centuries-old arched bridge collapses into a swollen river and another town centre sinks into stinking flood-water. Another fire rages across the slopes of mountains that should, in February, be white with snow. We stand and watch. That’s all we can do. Isn’t it?

wildfire 6

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31 thoughts on “Earth. Wind. Fire.

    1. Hi John. No news yet about the cause of the fire, just speculation on Facebook. Scary thing is, now the wind has dropped and darkness fallen, the fire is backtracking over the hills towards Lanjaron. It looks like it’s swept right across that section of the G7 west of Canar. The sky is orange with flames and the planes have stopped for the night.
      Alen

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          1. That reminds me of a bivvying trip I did round the Isle Of Man and moorland fires were raging. The firemen waved me through and said I would be OK as long as the wind didn’t change direction. I was walking through hot ash and the smell of smoke stayed with me for days. Slept on the beach that night as I thought that was the safest place. Must have been above high tide.
            Seriously though it is bad with you if they are moving people out of their houses.

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            1. I lived within sight of the Isle of Man for many years but I’ve never been there. I think I would have stayed in the pub rather than walk through hot ash.
              Good report here. About 550 evacuees being looked after by volunteers in Orgiva.
              http://www.ideal.es/granada/provincia-granada/201602/07/ayuntamiento-orgiva-activa-plan-20160207162712.html
              The “Beneficio” is the narrow valley the G7 crosses immediately to the west of Canar.

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  1. This must be scary stuff for both of you! I agree with your sentiments though; the bottom line in the short term is all that counts for some! The Earth is our only home, our only “spaceship” and as such she can only provide for a limited population. (Why not send another 10 or 20 people up to the International Space Station, see how long their food, water, air supply and so on would last!)

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    1. Hi Ash. Yes, I can’t understand the logic used by those opposed to clearing up the environment and living as cleanly as possible. Strange.
      Anyway, it’s nearly midnight here and things have died down. But we’ve learnt that people in the path of the fire – including a friend of ours – have been evacuated from the mountains. Like you said, it’s scary stuff.
      Cheers, Alen

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  2. I used to have recurring dreams about global inundation, and they weren’t very pleasant when everything was disappearing under water. I live on a hill and can’t imagine sitting in a house wondering if the river outside is coming over the top of the bank. Horrible.

    And seeing an inferno coming towards you sounds just as nasty. As for global warming, back here in the UK we’ve started naming the storms alphabetically. We’re up to the letter ‘I’ and it’s still only February!

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    1. Those storms in the UK appear to arrive one after the other. Named storms were pretty rare at one time. I remember the tail-end of a Hurricane Charlie that blew down trees on a campsite we were on in Wales. I had the tent tied down to our Land-Rover.
      That was the second wildfire I’ve seen at close quarters. One swept past a house we rented in Madeira. That was pretty scary because, like a flood, you can do absolutely nothing about it.
      Cheers, Alen

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  3. ‘Short-term gain’ it can be said as short as that. The consequences of this are far more unpredictable. What can you do?
    You can write about your experiences and bring pictures that you have already done. It makes a great impression. But I don’t think it changes anything.
    You must be commissioner in the EU! Or be a wind and precipitation God. I didn’t mention Thor 🙂
    The lack of snow in the mountains! Is it a radical change from last year?
    I hope both of you are of good courage !!!
    All the best,
    Hanna

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    1. I think I’d rather be a wind and precipitation god than an EU commissioner. The way things are going, Britain won’t be in the EU for much longer. I think at that point I’ll have to apply for EU or Spanish citizenship. Or maybe go to live on Rockall, where I expect there will be more than enough wind and precipitation.
      Apparently, there should be plenty of snow at this time of year but there is very little up to now. There’s a bit more on the norrthern slopes.
      Cheers, Alen

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      1. Rockall!! You send me out for a swim 😀
        I didn’t know about the “loneliest islet in all the world’s seas”1) but I do now. It’s famous so I read and one can even hear songs about it if you go to the right places. But who owns it today??
        1) theguardian/2011/jan/01

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        1. There was a bit of controversy over who owned it at one time, with Britain, Norway and Ireland all claiming ownership. Then Greenpeace landed on the rock and declared ownership. I thought that was quite a nifty move. But I don’t think they stayed long.

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  4. PS The consequences of thawing permafrost is interesting too. That will speed up the global warming.
    If the Gulf Stream turns it will be important for Denmark among the rest of the Scandinavia countries. Denmark are located at the height of Hudson Bay of Canada, that is, a sub-Arctic region. A decrease in temperature of 7-10 degrees will be realistic.
    A global warming above 2 ° C will lead to an increasing risk that the “pump” which keeps the Gulf Stream on could collapse.

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    1. Like McEff I find this all very scary. I have quite a simple view of things and if the Earth’s temperature rises then more ice melts and sea levels rise and there is more moisture/rain in the atmosphere and there’s more flooding…………..and those in charge think we can’t see through their sound bites or their slight of hand. Just because they live in a big house doesn’t mean they won’t get flooded or that their children and grandchildren won’t have enough to eat.

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      1. It’s the children and grandchildren who will inherit this mess – that’s the alarming thing about it. Governments and global corporations are taking decisions for today, not tomorrow.

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  5. The cynic in me, which grows stronger daily, says that the deniers are too in love with their fortunes and the lifestyle they bring to be capable of believing that it could be ended: what, them, the Masters of the Universe, having their slightest whim thwarted? We have the money, we dictate what reality is. And anyway, we won’t drown/burn first.

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    1. You’re right about the money, Martin. There are parts of the US where water is becoming a valuable commodity, yet within those areas there are billionaires lavishing millions of gallons of water on lawns and golf courses. Strange old world.
      Alen

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    1. Everything’s back to normal now, Jo, thank you. The scariest thing, besides the immediate danger of a fire, is that you don’t know what’s going on until it’s all over and you talk to people. We have one friend who was evacuated from her house and another two friends who were told by police to pack a bag in readiness. Thankfully, the local town hall had an emergency plan and it went like clockwork. Still, it heightens your awareness of just how fragile life can be, no matter where you live.
      Cheers, Alen

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  6. Superb post – couldn’t agree more with your comment:
    “No doubt in my mind about the devastating effects of climate change. No doubt, either, that those in denial are either wilfully ignorant or possess a recklessly selfish vested interest in short-term gain.”

    I’ve been saying that for years now. I can’t understand how they can be so ostrich-like when it’s coming to get them too!

    Just been to the Cairngorms for some ‘winter walking’ – all I got was a bad case of wind! No snow at all! Very weird – must be a first time for the Cairngorms not to have any snow in February!
    Carol.

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    1. The sheer recklessness of those people depresses me. I don’t give a damn about myself or what happens to me, but I want my grandchildren to grow up in a stable environment and I want the same for their grandchildren. Yet the people who worry about the environment are people like ourselves, not the ones in a position to influence events.
      Strange there’s no snow in the Cairngorms. That doesn’t sound good. Hope your bad case of wind wasn’t too uncomfortable.

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      1. Thing my last reply has gone missing in the ether somewhere!

        I think everyone is in a position to influence events to an extent which is why I live as frugally as possible (as you probably do too). We all have a part to play. But you’re right that we can’t influence the many people who don’t care.

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