07 September 2007

Fire!

As seems traditional, the break in communication is due to having little time to think, let alone write.

We were out just about every day last week flying for another mission organisation doing relatively local flights. For the digit heads that all equated to about 3500 miles and 400 gallons of fuel.

It was a hard week not only for the long hours, but also that most of them were spent battling huge amounts of smoke. Our area and the north of Swaziland have had the worst forest fires in 60 odd years and huge amounts of land were simultaneously ablaze.


Hundreds of thousands of hectares have been mentioned which is probably half the size of Wales, but the consequence for us has been visibility down to a few hundred feet in places. Some routes that we would usually fly at 3500ft could only be run at 12000ft. The smoke covered the eastern side of South Africa from top to bottom and drifted over Mozambique to the coast.


Out of the smoke it was great, but the airstrips are in the valleys and finding them was a bit of a mission at times, especially when the sun was low.

The week ended with a long overnight haul up to Moz with a group that are developing a work in a remote area between Beira and Zimbabwe.

Mercy Air team