(right above our house with a bucket full of sea water - heading towards the fire)
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On Monday, a helicopter was heard in the hottest hour of the day zooming around above our house. That can only mean one thing: fire, a fire in a field, a very dangerous area for fires to break out, as most fields in Hania (and all of Crete, for that matter) have olive trees planted in them, which catch fire and burn in the space of very little time. Fires more often than not are started by someone, not something: a farmer may be burning dry tree cuttings without ensuring that the fire is extinguished before he leaves the site; someone might be clearing a field on a windy day; an arsonist might want to raze a forest area to the ground so that the state can then declare it a non-forested area (even though it previously was a forest) and building developments can take place (sadly, this occurs frequently).
I didn't pay much attention to the helicopter as this sort of thing happens frequently. It flies above our house and usually disappears beyond our view...
The bucket hanging below the helicopter collects water from the sea, and returns to the scene of the fire. It's much quicker than a fire engine, which there are not enough of to deal with the frequency of forest fires as they break out in summer. Helicopters are used in areas that are difficult to access; many olive trees are found on mountainsides with a steep incline. This helicopter passed the area quite a few times when I took the photo, which means that the fire needed a lot of work to be extinguished. Apart from helicopters, Canader planes are also used in fire-fighting.