We have had one heck of a Dry "Dry Season" as it has not rained in at least 3-4 months. Every year, I understand more and more why the people like the "Rainy Season" much better. During the rainy season, things are green. During the dry season, things are brown, and that spells danger in some cases. This danger came true in Hacienda Atenas yesterday.
During the past 10 days, our fire department has been extremely busy fighting brush fires. Lately, it seems like that anytime day or night you drive by there the truck in gone. In addition, they had a tragedy last week and lost one the firefighters - You can get the details on that from a post I put up a couple of days ago. Stef found out the other day that the Costa Rica Fire Department has 400 paid firefighters throughout the country and 1,400 volunteers. In Atenas, there is one paid person and everyone else are volunteers. Well, it seemed that April 1st was no joke for them either....
It started around mid morning while I was in a meeting on the terraza with a couple of marketing people. Our gardener Noel came around the corner saying "Fuego, Fuego" and pointing to the hill above our house. Sure as we were standing there, something was burning and it wasn't anything small either. I called Ana Cecilia to call the fire department, but she found out the Atenas Fire Department was fighting 3 other fires in the Atenas Area. - After about 45 Minutes, a fire truck pulled in from the Alajuela department. Alajuela is a very large town about 10 miles east of Atenas. Here are a few pictures of what they had to put up with
I guess you can say it got pretty close to our property. In fact, we did lose some Green Bamboo trees up along the road, but my friend Vincent says they will grow back. The firemen got just about everything watered out, but there were some concerns about two very large trees up on the lot above us. The fire got to both of them and they started burning on the inside of the trunks. Things were pretty well over with around 3:30 PM. And, would you believe it? It started raining like crazy for the first time in over 4 months!!!! This helped to extinguish much more of the potential dangers. - Kind of think that someone was looking down on us.
Now, these fires can really throw a scare into some people, and Stef is one of them. She did not care for those two trees smoldering inside. She ended up keeping an eye on them for a few hours from a lounger by the pool and then slept on the chair in the living room the rest of the night.
Gerald, who also watches over our house at night was keeping a keen eye on making sure we were safe. Just as a precaution, about 9:00 PM I called him and asked him to keep a special eye on those trees. He called me back about 15 minutes later and said in Spanish "Bombaro's are on the way" - to me, that meant there was a problem. I met him back at the top of the hill overlooking my house. Here, we had two very large trees. Both burning pretty good. One that could easily fall down onto my house and the other, which could take out the electrical and telephone wires when it went down. The firemen got there and slowed down the fires, but said that both tree's must be cut down for safety reasons. Here they are the next morning just before they started to cut them down. You can tell the size by comparing them to the truck in the picture.
Never a dull day in Costa Rica - At least we are all safe, thanks to our friends, the firemen and the rain.