The fires were always a problem. Shepherds from far and wide brought their flocks, sometimes as big as 10,000 animals, for grazing here. Often they would carelessly toss out their lit beedis and unwittingly start fires. Once a fire starts, it moves very fast, feeding on the dry, thick layer of grass. It can lay waste acres and acres of land. If I saw a fire, I would run to the village to raise an alarm. All would then rush back and work together, and beat the fires out with eeta leaves. It was very hard work. The flames often burnt our hands and the smoke would choke us, making our eyes burn and water. But what to do..? It was either that or see all our work turn to ashes.