Now for our depressing end to 2011. Yesterday we got a call from the Falkland Islands Government Air Service enquiring if there was anyone on George Island as one of the pilots had seen smoke coming from the island. We were still in Stanley as we had planned to come out today but we were going to Speedwell instead of George. FIGAS are a truly brilliant service and on finding out that we were not on the island they came and flew over the island to see what was on fire. Happily it was not the house or any of the buildings. It is a grass/diddle dee fire in the Ram Paddock. The fire is approximately 5,000 square metres. We have no idea how it started we don't think anyone has been on the island but we cant be sure, sometimes we have yachties on the island that don't have permission to land. We think this is probably from a lightening strike, lightening hit Speedwell telephone system just before Christmas (the second time in a month) it is quite likely that it has been a lightening strike here. So yesterday afternoon everything went into overdrive. FIGAS yet again pulled out all the stops and Christopher and Shaun along with some fire fighting equipment were able to get onto the island. They got back to George at about 5pm and immediately started fire fighting. Although they had a pump loaned to them from the fire department they did not have long enough hoses so were only able to do some work digging ditches to try and fight the fire and using buckets of water but it is a bit like pissing in the wind. Today Tanya and I flew out. We got here around 10am and went straight out to the fire. We also received more hose on the plane and we were actually able to start going around the edge of the fire. There is no possibility of putting the whole fire out so the plan is to try and stop the spread. We spent two hours working on the top line of fire digging out hot spots on the edge and blowing the edges out with the force of water. Christopher flew back out on the plane that Tanya and I flew in on and went to North Arm. We have been very lucky that the Fire brigade were also able to supply us with another pump, more hoses and also two volunteer firemen. The firemen drove out to North Arm with the extra equipment and then Christopher and the firemen drove down to Flores Harbour and came down to George on Theo. We all went out to the fire again at about 4pm and stayed out until 8pm. We have made some progress in stopping it and some of it has went out by itself. We are really fortunate tonight because there is no wind. I guess there is always a bright side, the fire is very slow moving, it is in the ram paddock which only gets used for very short periods and currently has no stock in it. It has dripped with rain for about 15 minutes. Hopefully we can contain it. It is quite sad that some of the Jackass penguins have perished in the fire. They currently have chicks and I guess they couldn't get away from it. We will see what tomorrow brings but I know what we will all be doing New Years Day.
Anyway we are going to stay up and have a couple of drinks and see the New Year in. There is nothing we can do out at the fire tonight so Happy New Year everyone.