Wednesday, April 27, 2016
There was no way to know that the Chapada Diamantina National Park in Brazil had been on fire for two months. It wasn’t being reported in the media. The park is the size of Belgium and it turned out the government had only sent one helicopter and was hiding the news about the huge fire so most Brazilians didn’t know about the tragedy. So it was a complete surprise as i made the turn on the long entrance road to see flames roaring next to the road. And the hills in the distance glowing red. In spots there was thick smoke blowing across the road as i continued on to the town of Lençois at the edge of the park. As I rode into town I stopped to ask a nice looking person walking down the road if she spoke English and that is how I met Tetiana. Not only did she speak excellent English, but she showed me the way to a guest house to spend the night. it was dark by now and it was only in the morning that I realized what a charming place i had arrived at: After breakfast i learned that the local people from lençois and other small towns had to fight the fire with whatever equipment they could find. Those who had cars gave rides to get local people to the epicenter of the fire to allow them to dig fire lines and do whatever they could to save the park from further damage. Tetiana told me that the locals were not too enthusiastic about her contacting her journalist friends in other countries to get the word out and attract more attention to this disaster as they were worried it would scare away the tourists which is the main income of the area. After breakfast we made juice from frozen concentrate and put it in containters to take to the firefighters…..