We have had a very hot few days here in Cape Town, and the chances of runaway fires are high so we are all on high alert for any wisps of smoke in the vegetation.
I was at my kitchen window, getting a glass of water, when I noticed the start of a fire. Instantly I grabbed the phone and called the central fire line - 021 535 1100 - and gave the operator as much info as I could. I suggested that he call our local fire brigade office as they would be able to see the fire from the station. I was told our guys were in standby in a suburb about 20 minutes away!! Shock - horror - gasp! We are the one's with the mountain that could go up in flames in a second, not the the flat, low-lying suburb they'd been sent to.
Anyway, with the help of Google Earth to give the operator the correct road name, pretty soon we saw the firemen starting to dash the flames and then the glorious sound of the fire-fighting helicopter rattled our windows and I knew we were safe - or at least our mountain was. In less than 40 minutes from my call (and they had others calling in while I was on the line too) it was all done!
Well done to the guys in the chopper and fire engines, and especially those hardy ones that go out there with those flappy blanket type instruments, who slap out the fire from ground level. Kudo's to you all.