Wednesday 4 March 2015

Another sleepless night

After 7 months of disturbed sleep from having a newborn baby in the house, we were sleepless last night for a different reason: fire.

Muizenberg mountain - a mountain range just a few hundred meters from our front door was on fire. And not a small fire either. The night sky was lit up with an orange glow and the sound of crackling could be heard as the fynbos bush was burning. Yesterday fear struck the city as we watched it spread, out of control, to many parts of the mountain range in very difficult places to reach. Added to that was the fact that yesterday was the hottest day on record in Cape Town for over a hundred years!

There's a helplessness that you feel when you see such things, as roads are closed and traffic is gridlocked right down the peninsula. Helicopters were flying overhead dropping large bags of water which they'd scooped up from the Vlei (the lake just by our house). Joshua was super excited to see all the activity with fire engines continually passing, planes and helicopters all trying to tackle the blaze. He also showed great concern for the fire to be put out, grabbing our garden hose and pointing it at the mountain and demanding that I turn it on!

The community has been awesome throughout this time. The fire and rescue service has been blessed by countless gifts of food, ice, drinks and other offers of help. Residents have united together in a common cause: put out the blaze. Facebook has been a wash with dramatic images of the fire. It is quite a time to be living in Muizenberg. I don't think we'll ever forget this time.

On the one hand there's the desperation to put out the fire to stop it getting near any more houses (it has already raised a few to the ground), on the other hand the fires which happen every 5-10 years are essential for the rejuvenation of much of the flora and fauna that populate the mountain range. Table Mountain national park (which the range is also known as) has more types of  flower than the whole of England! Many of them need the heat of a fire to burst their seeds and spread.

Having said that, the local residents who have lived here for years say that they've never seen the fire so big and spread so fast as it has over the last couple of days. Please pray for this city to be able to pick itself up from this dramatic event which captured us all and to get back to 'normality'. But also pray for a continued growth in the community spirit that we've seen over the past few days - people serving and supporting one another. It was truly beautiful to see.

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