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Post details Post   (Expand pics)
2011-05-03 17:47:51
"Fire hose snakes the scorched earth." from dhmiriam Expand pics
Fire hose snakes the scorched earth. (Expand pics)
Too close for comfort
By late afternoon today, three units of the fire brigade battle fires at the back of our home. Between the fires and us stand one hedgerow, our lawn, vegetable patch and the great tree nesting a pair of sparrow-hawks and its young. All day yesterday these units were busy only a kilometer or so away putting out fires on the nearby bog. The smoke and flames were carried rapidly by the high winds. We worried about our neighbour’s homes, one of whom lives in a wooden constructed house he built himself. Today’s fire is close, too close for any kind of comfort. We live literally next door to the flood plains for the NoreRiver. Most years we worry about flooding across this expanse of gorse, bog-cotton, marsh and reed. It was home to eleven or twelve pair of swans this winter, which is quite usual, and a fortnight ago a pair of cranes frightened us out of our standing as we watched the Slieve Bloom horizon pink up in the setting sun. It is home to migratory birds, the swallows arriving in from Africa only last week. The place is/was alive with pheasant. In our favour today, the wind is blowing away from our home, but in so doing the fires are devouring the marshland, rapidly. The sparrow-hawks do not return to the nest all morning. Tired men, drag long hoses into inhospitable spots, stomping out smaller fires as they go, deeper into the smoke. This place and its close environs is the only site in the world for the hard water form of the Pearl Mussel M. m. durrovensis, and today it is on fire. Gardaí sense a malicious element to these two local fires which is very unsettling. The harsh winter killed off many plants, their brittle skeletons drying out in the last few sunny weeks, now prove ready kindling for any kind of spark. That an individual would knowingly start one of these fires given these conditions beggars belief. By early evening the firemen gain the upper hand and following a two hour watch a single sparrow-hawk appears phoenix like, treading the air high over the smoke and settling down at last, on its nest and young.
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