Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jungle Fire

Little did we know what each day would hold as we arose to greet the rising sun. On this day, about mid-vacation, we were visiting beside the pool with some new friends from Whitby Ontario when I noticed billows of white smoke rising behind block six.

I grabbed my camera and we climbed the back stairs of the hotel block where the hallways were open to the southeast, and we would have a clear view of source of the smoke. There, in a gully that runs perpendicular to the small road adjoining the resorts, was a raging fire, no doubt the result of a tossed butt.

This area consists of dry jungle and had it not been for heavy rains in November, this whole area would have gone up like a torch. As it was, it burned hot and slow, with only a slight breeze off the water.

We were not concerned for the hotel as there was quite a wide buffer between the fire and the all concrete construction hotel. Maybe that it why there was such a slow response. In all, there were probably 20 acres or more involved by the end and a lot of scorched trees, which were showing up brown by the end of the following week. It took a good 30 minutes before the first responders arrived on scene, and they were not well equipped. The equipment was make up of a red pick-up with two girls and a large water jug, two 'firefighters' who were flogging the edges of the fire with wet rags, and eventually a police car and one tanker truck with a very effective high pressure hose on the front bumper.  

They worked away at the fire for the rest of the afternoon and would leave every twenty minutes to re-fill the water tank. Eventually, by early evening, they left with the fire still smouldering in spots. Three days latter they were still putting out hot spots. In Canada, one sweep with a water bomber would taken care of it in the first few minutes.

It is rare to see a sense of urgency in Mexico. It was not evident here at all. After being on the hot side of the hotel and watching all the smoke, flame, and inaction, I had a sense of urgency to hit the pool and cool down. Ahh. That feels better.

The very red sunset that night might have been from the bush fire smoke, had the wind been the other direction. This is just a red Mexican sunset which happens almost every night.

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