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Fires and Feelings!

edi malinaric

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Hi All - my wife's cousin lives just outside Santa Rosa. They were evacuated, the surrounding neighbourhood has been devastated. We are worrying for them from facebook entry to facebook entry. As of last night their house still stands.

My thoughts go out to all who face fire - especially members of our community.

Seven months ago - almost to the day - we faced a similar situation - so I can relate to their fears and the feeling of helplessness as the heat relentlessly approaches. What to pack - when to run - where to run - what if it all goes up in flames - can one recover a lifetime of ... what?


Our house is in the second highest row of houses just over the ridge. When the smoke first started streaming over the neck on the other side of that peak, Rose and i drove to Hout Bay to check a friend's property on the south-east side of that peak (the pic is looking to the south west. A tunnel through that peak would speed things up). The fire had burnt fairly high up on the slopes and had burnt past his house and - HORRORS - the strong wind that kept the helicopters grounded, was driving the flames through the neck onto our side!

We screamed back to Llandudno - to turn the corner and see the above.

We collected on the streets meeting neighbours  and worrying all through the afternoon and into the night as the fire advanced.

Fortunately, with sunset, the wind dropped and died away  and the fire-fighters on the ground managed to contain things.



That was our fifth mountain fire. You never get used to the feeling of absolute helplessness - and as you get older, things get worse. Fires of 30 years ago found me up on the slopes actively doing something - beating, shovelling, helping the forestry guys start counter-fires. Now - approaching 80 - I realise that I can only run away! Hell - even running is beyond me.

Our thoughts are with all.

cheers edi


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I can't imagine.:(  Although the Fort Mac fire was horrendous...and it was hard to watch those news clips, and I've seen some gnarly grassland fires...:(

But edi...if you are approaching 80 -and can still walk away at a good pace, you are still way ahead of the game...

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1 hour ago, Michael_Molnar said:

We were in Santa Rosa for several days in August. I fear that many of the places we visited are now gone. The stories are horrifying. I hope people can recover quickly.

Mother Nature is pissed.

Twelve years or so ago , answered the phone to hear my house was engulfed in flames . Can,t say I am worse off than before , got to build a new house better than the old, but also incurred a huge debt even after insurance. After all those years I still hope my house is still standing after leaving for more than a few days. Recovery for some will go quite nice and quick for  others,...not so well I am sure. 

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Hi All

Mountain fire No 6 heading our way.- the reward for starting this topic?

This pic is from my balcony looking NNE. The road to Cape Town has been closed since 16h30. I suspect we'll have some flame pics later this evening. That copse of trees on the far slopes above the road cutting are 15 - 20m tall Bluegums. Hope we don't lose them.

Once again the wind is too strong for the helicopters to fly - we aren't called the Cape of Storms for now't.

Report from Santa Rosa - fires are flaring up again and Dave and Sharon's house is once again close to the "firing line"

I don't think that a pic of our approaching little problem would cheer them up


cheers edi



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Well I must admit I starting to feel a moral obligation to start contracting again. The devastation is quite unreal. Many luthiers out here have hit by this fire along with many other businesses and homes. The 37 fire which is the closest to me has fortunately been the least worrisome, but things can change is a second with the winds.

This fire has really exposed some serious weakness in the "system" as it relates to warning people about such things. There really needs to be some thought put into an emergency warning system, as well as an easy to find radio station/tv station/website to give locals a play by play on whats going on so they may plan accordingly. There seems to be no system in place to do this. I have found all the local info sites like Cal fire and such, but they're really not that helpful as far as finding out the immediate situation in your immediate area.

For example  a specific air raid siren that has a specific known sound for fires should have been blared at full volume to warn/wake people up, as it happened in the middle of the night, that right there could have saved many lives , sending out a few deputies to go bang on doors after the fire is bearing down on your neighborhood does no cut it, as we see.

The other thing this really exposes is the absolute need to develop a material that is easy to use and acts very much like wood but is not flammable. Houses out here really need to stop being built with wood framing. The real culprit is the roof decking and the way the soffet overhang creates an environment to trap, circulate and induce flames setting the building on fire.

I don't think the fires could have been prevented, but I do feel the rising death toll could have been virtually eliminated if things were done differently when it first started.

But again the ultimate solution is to build with non flammable materials.



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