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The other side of the mountain - Sep 20, 2008

There is a small newspaper in Águas da Prata called Jornal Pratense. I expected to see some commentary and maybe some pictures of this massive fire. There was no mention of it at all. There was no mention of how the fire started and if there was to be any kind of investigation.

So I set about to show just a little of the aftermath. Here is a small collection of photos showing how widespread the fire was.

This pic was taken from the highway to Poços de Caldas.

This side of the mountain was completely burned. Most of the fire was of grasses and some trees. Trees were not completely consumed.

In the distance you can see the entire mountainside was burned.

There is a small farm in this pic. The fire came almost to the farmhouse. The railroad track is between the farmhouse and the edge of the burn.

A train came through at 10:00 p.m. the night of the fire. It must have been a spectacular trip because the train came through as the fire was at its height of burning, right up to the train tracks.

This is near Cascatinha. The fire must have started around here. There is no official statement yet but it is possible there is a pyromaniac in Águas da Prata that set off the fire.

On the north end of the mountain there are houses right beside the train tracks. This view is from one block further away. From here the sound of the fire was deafening. The entire mountainside here was aflame.

Maybe we will get some official word about the fire. One thing of note is the firefighters come from São João da Boa Vista. Due to a difference of opinion with our current mayor they do not respond to fire calls from Águas da Prata.

However when homes are threatened, as they were here, they do come if the home owner calls for help.

Surely there can be a better plan of support here!

There are elections coming up next month. Maybe the new administration can come to a better arrangement with the firefighters.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Raging Inferno

By 9 p.m. tonight (Sep 12, 2008) the fire had spread the entire length of the mountain on the east side of town.

The noise of the fire was getting louder and the winds were increasing.

This is what the fire looked like from the street in front of our house, just five blocks from the fire.

Notice the church, 2 blocks from our house.

This pic was taken in the church yard. The fire is raging on the mountain behind the church.

By now it had spread to the north end of the mountain as was threatening homes.

The yop of the mountain was c0mpletely engulfed in flames.

Unlike the fire of Jul 2006 which was basicaly grass and underbrush, this fire was so big the trees were fully engulfed. You could hear the pine trees exploding as the sound intensified.

The fire became so intense the street lights went off for a few minutes. Here I am three blocks from the fire.

The wind was blowing from north to south and was building minute by minute.

The next few pics were all taken within about ten minutes. This is the north end of the mountain.

Notice that bright area in the middle bottom of the pic. That started when a pine tree up the mountain exploded and sent a ball of fire down the mountain.

In less than a minute it started to spread.

Two minutes later it is racing back up the mountain

I have never seen a fire spread so fast. The wind spread it and it also created its own wind.

About 5 minutes from the start the little area has become immense.

The sound was deafening to the people living in homes near there.

It just got bigger and bigger!

As I walkedaway from the fire it seemed to grow.

Now a block further away I look back and see the fire cobers the mountain side completely. In less than 10 minutes.

This is the view across the highway and through the park at 10:00 p.m.

It looks like the whole mountain side will be burned by morning.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Another large fire in Águas da Prata - Sep 2008

On Sept 12, 2008, at 3:pm we saw smoke over the mountain. A large fire was well underway when we saw it. The fire is on top of the mountain on or near our friend's farm.

Here is what we saw from our house.

The fire is about 1 to 2 km away.

It grew in intensity for three hours.

We thought it was under control or even extinguished by 6:00 p.m. But we were wrong. After dark we could see the fire was spreading rapidly. In this pic you can see another small fire to the south of the main fire. The fire had now come over the mountain and was burning furiously down towards the houses.

Here you can see the undergrowth burning under the tall trees. The next two pics were taken using a telephoto lens. The fire is about 1.5 km from our house.

The speed with which this fire is moving is scary.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Another Fire in Águas da Prata

On New Years Eve we went to Poços de Caldas to see the fireworks there. See our Blog "Natal no Brasil" at view the post "Happy New Year 2008 - Fireworks in Poços de Caldas".

The fireworks there were spectacular. We had no idea that fireworks had turned bad back home in Águas da Prata.

This is the scene we were greeted with when we arrived home at 3 a.m. This hillside in front of our home was ablaze.

There was a line of small fires going up the mountain and over the top. The line was an arc of small fires (at least 40 of them) spaced a meter or two apart. The fires were getting quite vigorous when we arrived home. (Note: It is difficult to take Nightime photos of fires)

The next day we woke up to see the entire hillside devasted.

These are views from the street of how much had burned.

Here is a view from the top. You can see the fires started into the coffee trees before it stopped.

I estimate about 100 coffee trees were effected.

The fire was uncomfortably close to these very large cane fields.

Although there was no definite proof the fires were started by fireworks, and I am not an expert, but I found lots of bits and pieces of skyrocket all over the place the next day.

An important thing to be aware of is that the nearest Fire Department Troop is in São João da Boa Vista. I am told they no longer respond to fire calls from Águas da Prata because of some dispute with our Mayor. So we have no fire fighting defences at all. That just is not very encouraging.

Photos by Urso Branco

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Fireworks in Poços de Caldas

Happy New Year 2008 - Fireworks in Poços de Caldas

Every New Year's Eve they put on a fantastic fireworks show in downtown Poços de Caldas, in the park behind the Palace Hotel.

This year was probably the best ever. The spectacular show went on non stop for 30 minutes. There was lots of bangs and smoke as the skyrockets lit up the night sky over Poços de Caldas.

At the same time, and throughout the day, people let off "bombs" all over town.

Here is a collection of photos of some of the fireworks.

The park behind the Palace hotel is lit up beautifully at night.

Thousands of people gather all around the park. This photo was taken an hour before the fireworks began.

They set off the fireworks on the sidewalk between grassy areas in full view of everyone behind the Palace Hotel.

So the show began with a bang at midnight!

It was an amazing spectacle! Happy New Year, Everyone, Everywhere!

Note: This post is repeated in our Blog "Natal no Brasil" at

Photos by Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE