Saturday, September 12, 2009

Forest fire on monastic grounds

Strong winds, 33 degrees (low 90s F)--perfect for a forest fire. And this afternoon it happened, in the woods five minutes walk from me.

Two planes made pass after low pass, dumping red flame retardant.
Those pilots are heroes.

Only if you enlarge the photo can you see Jerusalem through the smoke.

High ranking police officers arrived with their big automatic rifles slung over their shoulder.

The first was within the monastery's walls. The fire trucks could not get close and had to squirt water from above, over the fences.

We all did what we could.

The poor honeybees were roasted.

Franciscans fighting fire.

Please enlarge this photo, it's very dramatic. The olive tree trunks would smolder and then start burning again. Each one had to be dealt with individually, for hours, into the night.

Surveying the damage.

All the stones, all the plants are now covered with that sticky flame retardant stuff. The stones will stay pink for years to come.

Poor, poor trees!

The monks stayed on the job even after the firemen went home.
The main electric pole exploded and all the wires burned, and the monastery will be without electricity for 3-4 days. All the power to our village was purposely shut off while the fire was raging.

Father S. walked meditatively through the last embers and smoke.
When he celebrates Mass tomorrow I'm sure he will thank God that no one was hurt and that no buildings were burned.
But we are sad. These are, were, the woods I walked almost every day to commune with nature and her creator.
Let's pray this night passes in safety.


Clueless in Boston said...

Great photos of the devastation caused by the fire. It is really sad to see the damage caused to the area. Hopefully the trees will grow back quickly and the are restored so you and others can commune with nature.

richies said...

Sad to see the destruction caused by the fire. On another topic, I am curious how you view the command in Exodus 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" What does taking the Lord's name in vain mean. I would appreciate your input.

An Arkies Musings

Anonymous said...

People put forest fires out and that is a good thing. But trees don't have arms and legs and feet and cannot run. So the terror they feel when the flames reach up to them must be unbearable. Just like the man comes with a chain saw. Horrible.

Not many people think about the feelings of plants or animals but reserve their thoughts only for people.

Jacob said...

This is deeply disheartening to you, I'm sure. Fire is so devastating.
Kudos to all the brave folks who worked so hard to contain it and put it out.

Wonder why God let it happen in the first place?

Denise said...

Very dramatic photos. So sorry about the fire.

FA said...

I thank God that you are safe, Dina...and that no one else was hurt. It's great to see the Franciscans helping to put out the fire. We will continue the prayers that the fire doesn't spark up again.

Robin said...

So much devastation... This time of year the whole country is like one giant tinderbox, thank goodness the damage wasn't worse and no one was hurt, but I can't imagine how frightening it was to have a fire like that so close to your home.

Kay said...

This is so sad. You really documented this episode incredibly, Dina. I guess we're all fighting fires these days. We had another fire here yesterday, too. Again! It's the 11th fire in I forget how many days and it's arson. There are evil people around.

Yaelian said...

So very sad! Your pictures give a very good picture of the power of destruction that a forest fire has. Luckily no one was hurt,though.

kaye said...

how devastating. Fires are not a fun part of summer. If you want to wander down my road I’m home.

Hilda said...

Oh poor trees and poor honeybees! I'm just thankful that no one got hurt. I pray nothing sparks up again, and that the trees and plants grow back quickly. Kudos to the firemen, the Franciscans and everyone else who helped put out the fire.

GreensboroDailyPhoto said...


Thank you for sharing this. I've linked to it on our Sacred Sunday post today. What an awful event.

Mara said...

Such a shame! Fire is always unpredictable and when it's so close to where you live it really hits home! Really good nobody got killed though!

Archaeogoddess said...

Whew! I'm glad no one was hurt, although the loss of the bees and the trees is tragic.

Joyce said...

Oh what a sad day. Happy everyone was safe and the trees will eventually grow back. Your dramatic photos should be copied and given to the Monks and the town for them to document this in their records. I keep thinking how hot it was for those Monk's with the heat of the fire in their heavy robes.

Anonymous said...

It is so strange to see, during crises, the influx of modern with archaic on sacred grounds. Their tragedy moves me deeply. It may be a long, sad winter ahead, but spring will bring them extra blessings of new life and unexpected green.

Petrea said...

Oh Dina! You know how this news makes me cry all over again. And you were so close, right in the middle of it. Please be safe.

Yes, it will renew in its time. The planet will last, it has endured much worse. It is we, the humans, who are having trouble.

RuneE said...

I'm glad to hear that no one was hurt, but next time it rains give me call and I'll send you some tons of water:-)

PS But not today - Sparkling sun and 17 C.

Julia Smith said...

Very mournful photos. Even though I'm sure the monks will be more apt to put things into perspective, still...the sadness is evident in their body language.

Thanks for sharing this with us. I'm sad that you've lost your woods.

Mama Pajama said...

Dina - I feel for the loss of the trees and the bees. The trees will grow back, but the bees? So sad. Glad no one was hurt - thank you for sharing your Summer, hope to see you around...

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

My father worked for the US Forest Service and fought a lot of fires both small and huge throughout the western US.
The firefighters sometimes had to stay and make sure all the embers were dead, sometimes even feeling with their hands because of the danger of reignition.
When I was little we had a family friend killed in an aerial crash. He was in a scout plane that would direct the fire retardant planes and it crashed and killed he and the pilot.
During a hot dry summer Dad would be gone all summer. He always came home exhausted, but ok. It's hot dry dangerous work.

amanda said...

I feel for their loss with first hand experience. You did a Fantastic job telling us their story absolutely fantastic!

Pietro said...

Terrible devastation: I'm glad you are safe, Dina.
You've well described it with your photos. Thanks for sharing.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

looks like I haven't visited since the 11th wow! same troubles as here

Morten Pedersen said...

Great documentation.