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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Costa Del Sol Fires

Normally I post about pretty things and all our lovely weddings here in Spain :)
However, having received so many concerned messages over the past few days from family, friends and clients, I thought it would be a good idea to update and try to be informative as to the news and events that are actually happening here on the Costa Del Sol, having been personally affected by the horrific fires last Thursday.
Last Thursday evening we were out for dinner on the beach when my middle daughter called me from San Pedro to say she could see fires near our house, as we drove back up our hill, I could see fires over by Elviria but at this time was not concerned, we do have the odd fire here often and thought nothing more of it.
When I got home, I was on facebook, what an amazing communication tool this is, and I could sense the rising concern that these fires were out of control and travelling fast across the mountains, updates were across Facebook, dare I say like wildfire.
It was one of those do I stay up or go to bed dilemmas, I chose to stay up as I look out over Marbella and could not see the raging fires behind our village, but with all the updates on facebook I was not at all relaxed.
At 2am in the morning I could smell the burning, at 2.30am I decided to try to get some sleep as I think in my heart of hearts I knew we were in for an eventful night.  By this time I had shut all the windows due to the smoke in the air and very optimistically decided to go to bed.  Literally 20 minutes later my friend, Sarah who lives behind me, called me to say they were being evacuated and the police were on the way down to our village.  It was one of those surreal moments and from then on it is a blur and a dreamlike memory, I woke all my family and called my sister who was next door with my parents to tell them we needed to leave our houses.
Having dashed around our village making sure everyone was up, all my brides will be glad to hear all I could think was my weddings and I loaded up everything I had in my house to do with my forthcoming weddings, I then grabbed my hairbrush, make up, passport, laptop and the dog and we shot off down our hill.  The police were at this time in our village asking everyone to leave urgently both in Spanish and English and the smoke was horrendous.
Our night was spent at the Los Monteros hotel, this is another story, but as I work with them I will not say anything on this post apart from it was an uncomfortable night with no hospitality towards the many people that had been forced to flee their homes in the middle of the night.  Some of them had fled burning homes and had babies.
However we have since heard that La Canada opened it´s doors at 6am as there were thousands of evacuees coming down from Ojen and Coin to the coast, the Don Carlos hotel opened it´s doors to take in all the local people in Elviria, the list of hospitality goes on, it is a shame we did not experience it!
The images above are of where I live and our road up to our village, luckily the fire did not travel into the villages up here, albeit close, but many people were far less fortunate.
There have been some amazing groups set up to help and a Fire Aid Concert being organised on the 10th September here in Puente Romano.  They are being run tirelessly by Nick Holland Morgan and Marina Nitzak.
I returned cautiously home at 9am in the morning to a house completely covered in ash but thankfully OK and then had to compose myself and shoot off to create a beautiful wedding in Velez Malaga which was followed by a weekend of 4 more weddings, so I was pretty shattered and by then functioning on little sleep to be honest.
As I was so busy I had not had time to really take in what had actually happened and it is only now I am absorbing and witnessing the enormity of the disaster that occurred, I have since driven around where I live and it looks like something out of a disaster movie in some areas but with these amazing support and help groups that have been set up plus the Fire Concert I am sure the Costa Del Sol will be back on it´s feet again soon.


Joanne Cole said...

What a story to tell!! Glad your home was not affected and by the sounds of it now you are getting a chance to be reflective and actually take in what's happened! I like the survival items you brought from your house I don't think I'd be able to think straight enough to remember passport etc! It does not surprise me to learn that Los monteros were not as hospitable!! Typical springs to mind!! Thank you for writing about it. I hope it becomes a distant memory soon x

Marbella Mummy said...

OMG Laura so scary! Thank goodness you are all ok. I have friends with similar terrifying night evacuation stories and can only begin to imagine how it must have been. And then to have to pull yourself together, you are an amazing woman! x

vickie bevens said...

I am so glad that you are safe and your home is okay and so sorry for all of those who lost theirs....what a frightening experience and I cannot imagine all the beauty that is lost. I also can't believe that you managed to continue with your work and make others lives happy!! God works in mysterious ways.... - My thoughts and prayers are with you and all those that need help and I hope that is the last of your adventures of this kind!! :)