Monday, 30 March 2009

Fire ! Fire !

We live surrounded by the garrigue. And with the constant fear, during most months of the year, of fire.

However, such a natural habitat has also to be 'managed' and looked after in basic ways.

Fire is a terrible risk but it also has a definite part to play in nature. It clears out the undergrowth that is choking the wild plants (thyme, rosemary, holme oak, etc) and is the trigger for many dormant seeds to sprout.

Also, the more undergrowth that is got rid of, the lower the risk of 'unmanaged' fires spreading - from a carelessly discarded cigarette for example.

For a few years now, the local hunters have been assigned the responsibility of providing the manpower to help with the management of the garrigue.

Each licenced group hunt in a strictly designated area around/near their village. And are given instructions on how and when maintenance needs to be carried out on the garrigue.

This week it has been 'controlled clearing by fire' and every able man in our village was out to ensure it was done safely and kept contained and under control.

And Richard was there to take pictures for me, since I was away!

One area was on the left as you drive into our village, covering an area all the way to the upper road to Taussac.The last two pictures above are from across the valley so that you can see the extent of the burn after the flames had all died down and everything was safe.

Another area was to the right as you enter our village - and where you can just see the little hut (with a red tiled roof) is Cyprian's vegetable garden. The fire surrounded his garden but it was kept safe. They are experts at this!

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