Fire and fury: Twmbarlwm blaze

For those of you who don’t know, the mountain I live on, Twmbarlwm, was the centre of a huge grass fire over the weekend.

Over Saturday and Sunday it grew from a few isolated flames, into a full-on apocalypse scene. I felt it important to photograph the scene, to document what was happening. The picture changed so many times that I thought I’d put a selection of the photos here, so you can see how things grew and changed, and the devastating effect it has had on our local area.

Emma has also written about the fire and the community response, which has been unbelievable from South Wales Fire and Rescue service, volunteers and those from the local area who have donated water, snacks and more to the firefighters tackling the blazes over the past 72 hours.

Saturday 14 July, 18:30

For some context, the mountain you see on the right of this image is Twmbarlwm mountain itself. The mountain on the left side of the shot doesn’t have a name (to my knowledge, let me know if you know its name!) but is part of the wider Cwmcarn Forest Drive.

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Though there was plenty of smoke filling the sky, you can see the flames are small and very localised.

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Saturday 14 July, 22:00

Later that evening, things started the kick off. This first image was my first sight of fire on the very top of the Twmbarlwm, and you can see the fire spreading on the left side mountain.

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Saturday 14 July 22:30-23:45

With the sun now fully set, this almighty glow filled the sky. Though the flames didn’t appear to spread a great deal in this time, these shots show the scale of the smoke.

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Sunday 15 July, 19:00

Two privately-owned helicopters were dropping water over the mountains between 10am and 8pm. The fact that they were privately-owned hit home how stretched our emergency services are, but also the willingness of local people to offer their time and even their vastly expensive possessions to help.

Though there were some flames dotted about, they appeared to be quite contained and patchy, not rising more than a couple of inches.

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Sunday 15 July, 22:00-00:00

There are just three hours between the photo above and the photo below. Just let that sink in.

I only planned to take a quick look, but one glance at this and I was in to get my camera, spending another two hours taking this in. The fire on the left had stretched further up the mountain, even moving over the top to the other side. And worryingly, the Twmbarlwm flames seemed to have moved down the mountain in our direction.

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Monday 16 July, 19:00

Thankfully, a combination of cooler weather, a bit of rain and the continued hard work of the firefighters and the pilots, Sunday was much calmer. I could only see a single flame on the left side. While Sunday’s photos may be more dramatic, these reveal the devastating aftermath. Twmbarlwm is normally a green mountain, now it’s just black.

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What strikes me most about this next photo is the size of the Fire and Rescue van compared with the fire. A fire this size would have been just one minuscule element of what you see from Sunday night. It only emphasises just how big and how dreadful the flames were on Sunday night.

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2 replies »

  1. Wow! The photos on Sunday look seriously dramatic! It’s mad to see all the scorched earth. Impressive shots. I would’ve been petrified that my home would burn too! I hope all are safe and well.

    Like

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