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Information on a Fire on Sanctuary Property

There have been some very recent developments here at the sanctuary and, in our usual transparent manner, we’d like to share some details about what’s currently going on. However, we want to assure you that everyone is safe.  

Yesterday, our neighbor started an accidental fire while burning construction debris on the border of our property line. Unfortunately, the fire quickly got out of control and spread to the back side of the sanctuary property, which we can see from one of our vantage points. You can be assured that this is burning at the furthest point from the elephant habitat as possible. Once we smelled fire, we immediately started talking to the different fire teams and sent them video of what we could see. Where the fire is located is difficult terrain to traverse on foot, let alone fight a fire there. So, the initial steps were to monitor it while letting it burn to a place where firemen can get to it or, if things escalated, have a water drop by plane. 

Scott was able to take the drone up yesterday. (Big thanks to the supporter who purchased it, as it makes it possible for us to see how far away and exactly where the fire is.) He sent the video to the fire fighters, who were surprised at how quickly it seemed to be spreading. However, we should reiterate that the fires here are not at all like the wildfires in California or other places in the US. These fires burn low and slow most of the time. Overnight, because of how green the forested areas and grass are, some of the fire extinguished. However, there are still places that need attention, so officials sent a helicopter this morning to get more details, helping them to plan how best to approach the situation. 

The most important information to know is that the elephants are SAFE. They are very far away from the burning brush. None of them are responding negatively to what’s going on in the distance. The girls tend to feed off our energy and, if we are confident that things will go well, they also seem to take that approach. There’s no heavy smell of smoke near them, and the air is clear. They have just been going about their normal morning.

Elephant Sanctuary Brazil is incredibly grateful for the wonderful relationships that we have with the various fire departments. They visit regularly to monitor the property, even when no fires are nearby. We appreciate their attentiveness, organization, and quick response time. And while we want you to know that this isn’t a high risk for spreading further into the sanctuary, we will still post brief updates on our following posts to make sure you are up to date on the current situation. Hopefully, the 40% chance of rain will manifest and Mother Nature will give us a hand.

Photo of Rana

Fire Update: We had a lovely rainstorm this afternoon. Initially, it was just high winds, which riled the fire up a bit, but then there was a nice downpour and then a slower rain for about 40 minutes. It looks like there is the possibility of two small areas still being active, the ones furthest away from the sanctuary and not on our property, but because of this, 4 members of the firefighting team will be spending the night at the sanctuary. Tomorrow morning, they will explore to find out if indeed things are fully out. A few different members of the team will be staying in Chapada until after the new year in case they are needed here. This far into the rainy season, the bombeiros (Portuguese for firefighters) are not at active posts, and the ones that have come here have come from 3 hours away. We are very grateful for their support and their genuine appreciation for the sanctuary and the life it offers not just the elephants, but the wildlife that is rehabilitated and released as well. 💜 We will post something later on tomorrow as an update. No news is good news.

Comments(15)

  1. REPLY
    Melinda says

    Thank God everyone is SAFE, but how scary!

  2. REPLY
    Cintia says

    Gosh! I thought by niw this people would know the risk of fires on the wilderness!!
    Glad everyone is safe and please, rain, come down!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Fires are legal during the rainy season. This one just got out of hand quickly.

  3. REPLY
    Pam says

    I’m so glad everyone is safe. Prayers for the fire to quickly be extinguished. Thank you for keeping us informed.

  4. REPLY
    Wim says

    Scary business. Hopefully all things will stay controllable. Stay safe Sanctuary family.

  5. REPLY
    Tammy says

    So happy everyone is okay and a great big hug and thank you to the kind person who purchased the drone it is a very important tool to have! Also the Fire Department that protects the Sanctuary when needed but also to monitor the grounds they are amazing people to have for the girls safety and of course all those people keeping the Sanctuary running smoothly! Lots of love to all and a great big HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone! 🥳🐘🤗🐘💞

  6. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    Might be a good idea for GSE to start planning some water pipes to stretch a few blocks inside the sanctuary in case of another fire that might get bigger, and about 1,000 feet of fire hose to be available if necessary……While GSE would want the entire area to stay as wild as possible, you also have to be ready for emergencies………

  7. REPLY
    David says

    Wow. I was terrified for a moment for the girls. So happy you have such an orderly & prepared system in place. I had no idea the sanctuary was so large?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Not all of it is developed for the elephants, but it’s very large. As we grow, we will expand the habitat.

  8. REPLY
    Heather Parsons says

    I know that you would be very busy monitoring the fire, but did the girls display any different behaviours during this time.? Just curious about their response to the smell of smoke.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s possible that they may smell it, but they’re showing no behavioral differences.

  9. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    Excellent report. Thank you for sharing, and letting us know all is well. GSE is appreciated ten times over for everything you do to keep the girls safe.❤️🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘

  10. REPLY
    Sara says

    We had a lovely rainstorm this afternoon. Initially, it was just high winds, which riled the fire up a bit, but then there was a nice downpour and then a slower rain for about 40 minutes. It looks like there is the possibility of two small areas still being active, the ones furthest away from the sanctuary and not on our property, but because of this, 4 members of the firefighting team will be spending the night at the sanctuary. Tomorrow morning, they will explore to find out if indeed things are fully out. A few different members of the team will be staying in Chapada until after the new year in case they are needed here. This far into the rainy season, the bombeiros (Portuguese for firefighters) are not at active posts, and the ones that have come here have come from 3 hours away. We are very grateful for their support and their genuine appreciation for the sanctuary and the life it offers not just the elephants, but the wildlife that is rehabilitated and released as well. 💜 We will post something later on tomorrow as an update. No news is good news.

  11. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    Thanks for the update Sara and you all stay safe and keep the girls safe

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