Monday, 9 February 2009

Fire season

It's bushfire season here and my state is on fire. Over 10 major fires are currently burning out of control, over 750 houses have been lost since Saturday afternoon, over 125 people are confirmed dead (and this is mostly just people who've been found on the roads, the task of checking each individual property has only just begun). Entire towns are burnt to the ground, people can't find their families and are not permitted to return to their homes to look for them. The fires are still burning, trees and power lines block the roads. The danger is not over yet.

I live in one of the most fire prone regions of the state. But we are safe. The temperature reached 46 degrees (115F) on Saturday, the wind was so hot and so strong. It was awful. One of the worst fires started less than an hour from here but took off in the opposite direction to us. Given the devastation that has followed, I can't say I'm glad but I guess I can say we are lucky. Today it's about 20 degrees (70F) but still very windy. Still awful. Still on high alert.

In this state you choose whether you want to stay and protect your property or evacuate. You attend community meetings, you write a 'bushfire plan' and lodge it with the local fire brigade, when fire comes you're meant to know what to do - you're meant to be prepared. So many people who stayed with their homes died, so many people who tried to flee died in their cars as the fire overtook them. How can you prepare against 10 years of drought, tinder dry bush, limited water supply, and arsonists with their own sick plans?

DH's mother rang late Saturday afternoon, there was a fire near them, his 75yo father was outside wetting down their timber house with the garden hose. DH and Tiger were ready to go and get them when the wind abated and the threat was gone.

My heart aches for all the people who have lost members of their family, their homes, their animals, their livelihoods, their sense of security and peace with the world.

Slightly off topic.... When the Screaming Banshee came to collect the kids last night, DH arranged with her to pick up Tiger the next day to see the chiro.practor about his sore back. The Banshee responded by saying that Tiger had better be nice to her, she's had a terrible weekend because she knows someone who knows someone who lost their home in the fires. She is the most infuriating person I have ever met! I don't know anyone else who could manage to turn a national disaster into a drama all about her!


OHN said...

When I heard about the fires I wondered if they were near you. Glad you are all safe.....what a horribly sad situation!

Oh....and Screaming Banshee....what a turd.

Tobacco Brunette said...

I've heard bits and pieces about this on the news, but your description makes it so real and not just another story. It's tragic and terrifying.

Please take care!

Vee said...

It is just horrific, I can't bring myself to watch the news and hearing the stories. It breaks my heart.

Queenie. . . said...

It's so heartbreaking to watch. I hope things are getting better for you all over three.