There’s no smoke without fire

Posted on September 27, 2011


There’s something dangerously enticing about watching fire, perhaps it’s my primeval roots telling me something. The way the flames leap and curl and its ability to engulf anything in a matter of moments.

camp fires

It’s thought by some scientists that without fire man would not have evolved. Homo erectus was presumably the first chef in history (though I doubt he had any Michelin stars) and some researchers believe that early man’s control of fire enabled dramatic changes in our ancestor’s diet. It may also have provided us therefore with additional energy and strength to defend social groups against wild animals and improve social interaction.

Yesterday I was out filming in the beautiful woodlands of South Yorkshire where I interviewed a sculptor around a camp fire. Even though our humble pile of logs and twigs was small, the fire created was fierce. This morning I feel like a half-cooked sausage. Everything on my left-side still prickles with heat.

Storrs Wood in South Yorkshire

The speed at which our fire grew was impressive, but get too close and you’re quickly reminded of how powerless any living organism is in its path. I was also really paranoid that the it might get out of control and I didn’t want to be blamed for burning down someone’s land!

There’s no doubt that when fire takes hold you face a losing battle. Over the weekend I reported on the death of six people from the same family who tragically died during a house fire in Neasden, north-west London. The force of the blaze had blown the windows out, ripped up the roof and the burnt out shell of the semi-detached was the only evidence left. It took more than 30 fire fighters to control the blaze over two hours. Police say the fire was not suspicious and it’s believed to have been caused by a chest freezer.

Today I’ve read about bushfires in South Africa which has killed several monkeys at a primate rehabilitation centre in Tzaneen in the Limpopo Province. Bushfires are a natural phenomena and can happen anywhere where there is plenty of wood, leaves or forest that can burn freely – ie: uncontrolled.

Bush fire has killed several monkeys at the Vervet Monkey Foundation in South Africa

The fire at the primate sanctuary Vervet Monkey Foundation (VMF) yesterday destroyed at least one enclosure and killed and injured a number of monkeys. With a blaze like that, you just have to allow Mother Nature to run her course and as awful as it is, this is part and parcel of life in the wild.

If you’re interested in donating to the charity to help with repairs click here.

Vervet monkey

Posted in: A tribute