What Happened Next?
By September 2018 engagement and conversions had increased exponentially and new collaborations being developed, mostly gearing towards a busy year in 2019.
The team had just spent many weeks working out the development plan and all were feeling very positive and uplifted by the clear view of the task before us. In what would be the first week of concentrated work on the venue by the whole team, the 2018 Algarve wildfires started and we ended up in the thick of it.
Our First Task Was To Survive The Wildfires Of 2018
Over many days we watched the wildfires approach our valley. We made as many preparations as could be done to try to protect the land and property. The situation however, did not look good! We were prepared for immediate evacuation and how to limit the damages in case of fire.
At 2:30 am on a Monday morning we watched the flames lick over the crest of the last hills before the venue and start their descent into our valley. We were evacuating, though we didn’t want to.
The entire team had spent the last 4 days prior to evacuation, in their own way, building a bubble around the main property, used for events and is home base. We visualised the fire stopping at key boundaries, but also allowing for the fire to have it’s way with some 30 other hectares of the property that is little used.
When we returned to the property we found it in tact, with a tiny amount of fire and damage in one far corner, where the fire passed us by on it’s way up through the valley and over the hills. It was so ‘untouched’ that it appeared the windows weren’t even dirty. Many locals have been by to see ‘the miracle’ as you can see with your own eyes how the fire just stopped, completely right on the boundary line. despite evidence of showers of embers, nothing on this land caught fire.
Buoyed by this outcome we all got stuck in to a program of response to what the fires had taught us.
The emphasis shifted to a program of clearing and felling that creates a zone of fire break that these scrub fires can not traverse.
Once completed we prepared for the first in a series of retreats seeing out the year 2018 for which we provided catering services.
Conscious Earth Retreats continues to this day providing retreats for most of the year, outside of the hot Portugal summer.