A baby blue crane emerged from the devastating Van der Stel Pass fire unscathed despite being abandoned by both its parents. The fire, which first broke out on Thursday, 24 January, burned through 11 000 hectares of land, and was spurred on by gale-force winds.
The fire, as devastating as it is, has brought together the community, as farmers, local companies and firefighters worked seamlessly to fight the blaze for five days. “This is an example of a community standing together and giving selflessly. They’ve contributed food, resources, and teams of people to help fight the fire – working right through the night. We are so grateful for the support,” Paul Cluver of Paul Cluver Wine Estate said.
To date no infrastructure has been lost. There has been minimal damage to vineyards and orchards in the Elgin Valley. The small town of Lebanon was evacuated over the weekend, but the efforts of firefighters halted the blaze before it damaged houses in the area. Residents have subsequently returned home.
But sadly, the abandoned baby blue crane chick has not.
Fortunately, a local farmer took the chick under his wing, and is caring for the bird until its parents can be tracked down. “It will be reunited with its parents at the first available opportunity,” Cluver said. “That really captures the spirit and heart of this strong community during a challenging time.”
The fire first started on a farm along the Van der Stel Pass, but was exacerbated when a blaze that was extinguished above Houw Hoek flared up again. These two fires merged last Saturday, creating additional challenges for firefighting teams.
The fire is still burning, and has crossed the N2.
Picture: Paul Cluver/Facebook