On Saturday morning Joe got a call from a beekeeper : “The Park is on fire!”
Joe didn’t realize what would have been the magnitude at that time. He immediately contacted the Park authorities only to be informed that they had just received the information and started mobilizing communities. He thought “Well, this is just a one day matter, then I can go back to the normal life especially during this busy time of the year in the Park, the tourism high season.”
He was wrong. Saturday evening he got a call from the law enforcement :
“ Hehheheh, you know , I have never seen this before, if it continues to spread at this speed it would take 3 weeks to get rid of it!”
“What? Then the whole Park would be gone!!!!!!!!” Joe exclaimed.
On Sunday Joe was checking if he could see the fire from the road but he couldn’t see a thing. He even tried to call his colleagues but in vain.
He decided to go Monday morning into the field and see for himself what was happening and what he could do to help. He had been informed that some people spent the night there lead by the warden in charge of law enforcement. Thus he passed through town to buy something for the teams such as water, juice, biscuits and chocolates.
On his way, nothing unusual from the tourism area all the way to the park, which was encouraging; but getting closer from the road he could see smoke in different points in the forest. One could easily mix up smoke and cloud. In the village around he couldn’t see any young men; women were cooking for the people fighting fire in the forest.
Joe continued climbing hills, meeting various people on the way, military, police, communities; everyone had brought anything that they were able to find: panga, hoes, sticks , anything to fight the fire.
He finally reached the Park edge, exhausted to deathand thinking: “All people who went up to fight the fire are brave, climbing all these steep hills one needs to be patriotic and conservationist!!”
The terrain was very difficult in some areas where people had to try to extinguish fire in ravines, climbing big hot rocks! People were really selfless in this tedious exercise.
Three horrible days and nights they have fought the fire. And as they finished putting out the fire Joe found there, frightened and lost, among the trees, the smallest creature of God, devastated by this whole hell: a small koala.
Seeing him aproaching the gray creature did not run. Joe was so impressed by the sight of the little one that he thought: “Oh, you poor thing, you must be so scared and exhausted”.
He took his backpack , found the bottle of water and as he kneeled down in front of the little koala, he saw his tiny paw reaching towards him. It was the moment when they spoke the same language. The time stopped. And for a minute they were one.
Dedicated to all those brave wonderful people, firefighters and volunteers, who save lives, forests , people and wild animals all alike.