FOR SEQUELThe Big Fire - Miami Playa,Tarragona, Spain, 1982

It's the early eighties and we're staying in a nice, brand new house in Urbanización el Casalot, Miami Playa, Tarragona.

My husband tells me he saw a fire the other side of the mountains, over by Ascó.

"We should leave. The way the wind is blowing, the fire could reach us."  He announces.

Apparently some little old lady near Ascó has been burning olive branches.

"But, Ascó is far away from where live. So, we should be fine, shouldn't we?" says I.

 Famous last words.

The next morning, at around five a.m. my husband wakens me.
"The fire has spread. Look!   It's already this side of the mountains."
"Och, don't be daft. It's still far away.What a pest for waking me. I'm going back to sleep."

Just call me a grumpy grump first thing in the morning.

Later that day the fire gets closer and closer. The wind is howling spreading ash, embers,  and smoke in random patterns. The road from our house to the main coastal road is basically impassable as bushes and branches, all burning, blow in every direction.

The German man who owns the swimming pool and restaurant near our house is trying to control the flames with branches. My husband joins him as do other men. Whole trees crackle loudly as they go up in flames. In the darkness it looks as if there is nothing but flames and embers. We inhale smoke and ash.

Does anybody else know what's going on here? Is it just us, the people who live here, fighting the fire? How do we get help? We have no telephone. There is no line here at El Casalot, Miami Playa. There's simply no way to contact others.

Fortunately, our house is made of brick, and there's a brick wall around it, otherwise it could possibly go up in flames.

In the daytime you can see stretches of grass that have been burned and charred, and then other sections that are pristine, as if there has been no fire at all. We wonder about the wildlife, if any birds or animals were killed. We wonder about the people and marvel at the fact that it seems as if nobody has been hurt.  The wind starts up again blowing the embers in all directions.

The Guardia Civil turn up and tell us to leave. There are planes in the sky depositing water.

We get into our cars, complete with a budgie, a cat, and our small son and zig zag down the road intent on avoiding burning debris.

Who would have thought that the fire could spread all the way from Ascó, over the mountains, and over the autopista, down to where we live?!

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