Fire is a natural part of the Mediterranean cycle, clearing vegetation to make way for new growth, and areas where there has been a fire one summer are reputed here to be the best places to look for wild asparagus the following spring. It’s still terrifying, though, when it comes near villages as it did near ours last Thursday. Fortunately, no occupied houses were affected and the vineyards are rarely touched because the leaves are too damp and vine wood is to dense and slow burning. A huge expanse, 50 hectares, of garrigue – the wild mix of herbs, evergreen oak and small shrubs that grows on uncultivated hills all around the Mediterranean – was destroyed. It was strange today to go through a familiar landscape, now changed to a wasteland of ash and burnt wood. The green will grow again in spring, but the trees will take longer to return.