I live in a small town on The Garden Route in South Africa, 25 kilometers from Knysna. Early on Wednesday morning, we woke up to see a huge fire in the distance. Gale force winds blew the fire full speed into Knysna, just east of us. Ten thousand people were evacuated from their homes and at the last count 150 houses were burnt to the ground. Many farms and outlying areas were affected. Our hearts are broken, but thankfully many lives have been saved.
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Wildfires raced through our forests
driven by gale force winds
leaving devastation in their wake.
Embers leaped across waterways.
A whirlwind of emotions
as people fled their homes,
to find safely
at the water’s edge.
A cold and fearful night,
surrounded by flames.
Many being evacuated
to safer towns.
It was a fire that took the night
and made ashes of
a beautiful resort town.
Then the misery as daybreak came,
fireman still fighting the blaze
working 24 hour shifts.
Trying to contain the havoc,
as many returned to their homes,
if there would be anything left.
Shells of homes scarring the landscape,
tears falling on the ashen ground.
Offerings from near and far
started pouring in,
food supplies being trucked overnight.
Donations and goods arriving within the day.
A joint force for good.
People opening their homes,
hotels offering rooms free for the night.
in the midst of devastation.
As people wait in the aftermath,
they begin to pick up the pieces
of what was lost in the fire,
just thankful to be alive.
Prayers going up for rain
to douse the last flames of destruction.