THESE dramatic images show how close an African orphanage which has its roots in Burton came to disaster.
Kenyan orphanage Footprints, which was founded by Stretton resident Kerry Watson in 2010, and its 22 staff and children narrowly avoided being engulfed by a raging bush fire which threatened to send all her hard work up in smoke.
Only the frantic efforts of staff at the orphanage and people living in the area managed to keep the fire at bay.
Kevin Curtis, an orphanage trustee who has also worked in Burton and now lives in Derbyshire, arrived at the scene shortly after the drama unfolded earlier this month.
He said that staff at the orphanage had been concerned in the lead up to the incident following numerous bush fires in the area.
He said: “It got very close, the last few feet we managed to stop it. The flames, fanned by the wind, quickly spread engulfing in excess of 50 acres.
“It threatened the Footprints complex and staff had to use some of our very scarce water reserves to keep the fire from jumping across into the complex and our buildings.
“Unfortunately, many of the bush animals were not so lucky, and neither was our nearest Kenyan neighbour Roger.
“His small chicken house burnt to the ground and was totally destroyed.
“A number of fires had broken out in the area, and we had discussed how worried we were and how everyone needed to be vigilant.”
Although relieved to have escaped the fire, the rescue attempt has thrown up a new problem, with the team at the orphanage forced to use what little water reserves they had available in an attempt to douse the flames.
Mr Curtis added: “We had to use what precious little water we had to stop it going into the complex.”
The orphanage, which struggles to access a regular water supply, is hopeful that a ‘hot spot’ in the area which has been identified as a potential source of water could be the key to solving some of its problems.