All Fired Up – The St Francis Fires

//All Fired Up – The St Francis Fires

 

Having A Back-Up Power System During A Natural Disaster.

I went for an early morning run out to the wild side. Away in the distance I could see the fire. As I was watching the wind started slowly swinging. I didn’t feel any sort of threat, with the front edge of the fire looking like it was a good 10 km away, and there was some extremely rugged territory between us.

That evening the fire was upon us. We rallied together, but no matter what we did, the fire grew, jumped the road, and bore down on us, choosing a few select houses to have a go at first.

It was a desperate fight in the early evening light, and it seemed like there was no way we were going to keep it at bay. As the village fought as one, and as some elderly and very young members huddled around, the municipality turned the power off across the whole village, and we went into darkness, lit up only by the roaring red-orange flames that burned bright into the night sky.

Being a road back from the front line and with a wife, two kids and two dogs, we decided to stay at home the first night, with me going out on sporadic night missions to join the fight. With the electricity disconnected for a number of fire safety reasons, most people in my street chose to evacuate the fire as well as the darkness.

As per usual, we were unaware of the power cut, with my Genergy hybrid system kicking in as if it was a simple loadshedding episode. We carried on with our lives, doing kids homework, making dinner and watching the fire lurk from our back garden. When I went out to the fire there were lights on outside my house and all was ok.

The days and nights all started melding into one as we fought each flare-up as it arrived, and we doused the flames piece-meal. We set up powerful watering systems, and we did shifts through the night. We came to my house in the early hours of the morning because we had a kettle and lights and safety and cold water in the fridge. People evacuated their vehicles from their garages, and parked them around my house, and they were safe under the lights.

The St Francis Fires

The St Francis Fires

Over the next seven nights the electricity was cut off most nights. We carried on with our lives, and when we did evacuate twice, we did it with the convenience of doing it with illumination, as the rest of our neighbours around us evacuated with headlamps and torches and effort.

We never stopped to think that should there be a natural disaster like a fire that the power would be cut off for safety purposes. We underwent an incredible amount of stress and pressure over the week long onslaught from the St Francis fires, but the fact that we had a functioning house and a family that were less out of rhythm than those that had been consistently plunged into darkness during the most intense hours, we came out alright the other side.

It might have been different without the Genergy backup system, but we’ll never know. All we have as reminder is ash floating around in the wind and every single fabric in the house smelling of smoke.

The St Francis Fires

The St Francis Fires

Still there were no damages, no injuries, and yet another reason why we need energy back-up systems in South Africa.

 

2016-10-18T13:56:10+00:00 Thursday, February 4, 2016|Alternative Energy News|