Last Sunday, the afternoon we returned from our holiday, a fire started on the mountain behind Vastrap. It is peak fire season in our area and everyone will be on high alert for the next month or two until the summer rains come. The veld is extremely dry and dusty and the smallest spark can set things off. Strong winds add to the danger. Of course we are happy that it’s spring, but until it rains the drab brown landscape and hazy air makes it hard to get too excited.
Thankfully the worst of the fire was on the mountain and there happened to be no wind for two days, which made it easier to control. At one point my parents-in-law panicked that their house might be in danger as the flames neared the trees behind their property, but with the help of our neighbours and the fire department who went above and beyond to come out to us at 9pm on a Sunday night, the fire was contained. In the end we lost about 200ha of grazing, but we don’t use this part of the farm often because there’s not enough water for the animals up there and no trees for shelter from the heat.
With Livia in a sling, we traversed the length of our mountain property this morning until the stone fence post which forms our boundary with three other farms. It was very crunchy underfoot and our legs were black by the end of the walk. The dogs had a ball, but they all needed a bath when we got home! Amazingly, there are already green shoots coming up only a week after the blaze. It will be interesting to see how quickly the veld rejuvenates after a bit of rain. Our thoughts are with all the other farmers that have been and will still be affected by bad fires this year.