Jill Watling, Somerset West

A whiff of smoke and howling wind,

The slight haze becoming thicker and obscuring the
Helderberg from view.

A strong smell of smoke, the mountains now shrouded in thick palls of it

Blown by the ashy gale, darker, more ominous and threatening.

Helicopter blades thwacking the thickening air,

Swooping, scooping like gluttonous sea-birds,

Lifting the trophy in bright red buckets to douse the hungry flames,

Spilling it, sizzling it onto the ferocious fire

Which roars and devours with red-hot greed and rage.

The flames rise in fury in the shrieking wind

Which blows relentlessly, fanning the flames.

Dread, disaster and death engulfs tinder-dry land

As the battle rages on, insatiably swallowing all in its path.

Farmers panicking and moving their livestock,

Residents agonising over probable loss,

Wildlife pattering, scattering with heartbeats battering

While fire crews valiantly struggle on

Amongst the flying cinders and smothering smoke

To defeat the defiant inferno.