Sunday, 8 February 2009

A State on Fire





This was the day we've dreaded every year, finally it happened. The temperature reached 46 deg, 47 in some areas, that's 115 - 116 deg F. We had three days in a row the previous week over 43 deg but there was no wind. Yesterday was very different. We have been going through a very severe drought, every thing is tinder dry. From early in the morning the temperature climbed, by 11.30 in the morning it was 42 deg under our front verandah. Then the wind started, we'd been warned across the state that this was going to be the worst day for fire conditions since ash Wednesday in 1983. That was an understatement. We were told there would be a cool change later that evening.

The first report came in that a fire that had been burning all week in Gippsland, in the east had broken the containment lines, shortly after another fire in the region was blazing out of control. Winds were raging between 60 and 90 kph. Next a fire at Horsham in the west of the state. Within a couple of hours there were so many fires blazing across the state, it was impossible to control any of them. We live in one of the worst bush fire areas in Australia so you can imagine our apprehension. It was a very, very long day. We had a fire near us (last photo) where four houses were lost, normally this would be headline news. It hardly got a mention as there was so much devastation everywhere. The photo shows one of two helicopters that kept picking up water from a nearby lake and dropping it on the fire. They did a tireless job. The fire went right through the night. The top photo shows one of two towns that were totally destroyed, the whole town was gone in such a short time.

We finally had a cool change dropping the temperature to the high 20's, some areas including ours had a shower of rain. Today Sunday the temperature is much more pleasant, but unfortunately the fires are still burning out of control with no sign of abating. The very sad thing is at least 36 people have lost their lives, they expect that figure to rise and hundreds of homes have been lost, 500 alone in one area. The animal and bird population has suffered badly too.

It takes an event like this to make everyone realize what a great country we live in, the number of volunteers who go out and risk their own lives to save others. People volunteering all over the state, offering help to those who've lost homes, to look after animals, to donate anything and everything. Despite everything mother nature throws at us, we really are the lucky country.

60 comments:

femminismo said...

Ro, I am so sorry to hear your area has been so hot and dry and now has these fires. It must be a frightening threat, and I hope you get more relief very soon. I will be thinking good thoughts for you and your neighbors. Jeanne in Oregon

Janette Kearns Wilson said...

So glad you are all right, have been thinking so much about you all up there. Very Best Wishes.

Judy said...

so glad that you are ok and safe - what a nightmare. Thankfully we didnt reach the 47 that we were meant to. xo

Corrine said...

Ro, I didn't realise until today, when the sky over here turned orange, and Harry told us they had found ashes on the snow when they climbed Mt Clarke yesterday. Amazing to think the fires in Australia could reach us over here. I knew it would be bad even before seeing the nightmare on the news tonight. Stay safe, I'm thinking of you.

Chrisy said...

Yes...a black time indeed...and the police, fire services, hospital staff...what wonderful people they are and in that heat......and it's uplifting to remember that most people will open their hearts to those in need...stay safe...very pleased it's a bit cooler for u..

Megan P said...

Ro - what frightening times. You are right about thoses that risk it all to help others. It is a huge loss in so many ways. I have just seen the news on the Victorian fires. Thoughts are with you Ro,
Mx

lindacreates said...

So glad you are okay. I have been checking with Jen. I have been keeping up with the news and it is devastating. It has to be so hard to leave your home, but you just have to. It sure makes you appreciate life. Take care and know you are thought of here in the States.

Sam Marshall said...

Thinking of you and everyone affected by these fires.

Belinda said...

Ro this is devastating and I have been following the fires in the news etc. My mum lives up in Fingal and we have friends in St Mary's and surrounds where the bad fires were last year and before in Tasmania and you feel so useless to help and worry so much, but never was the such loss of lives as in Victoria at present. I am wishing you and your the best and hope that you homes friends and family get through this.
Take care Belinda

Jen Crossley said...

Ro Im so glad you were okay I was really worried about you .My heart goes out to all those people who lost lives and everything they owned.It really puts life back into prospective doesnt it
Stay safe my friend
Jen

magikquilter said...

it is just appalling....stories of firemen coming home to find their families dead and communities gone.

Glad you are okay ...that is if anyone in rural Victoria will ever be okay after this

Martine said...

Have been following this on the news since yesterday, worrying over you people there. So glad you are safe. Praying for rain now.
Best wishes
XXXm

Joanne said...

So glad to hear you are OK Ro, it's such a terrible disaster for the whole of Victoria. Stay safe, see you soon.

Robin said...

Hi Ro, glad to hear you're OK, the fires and heat sound terrifying. But, like you say, it is great to read how people pull together at a time like this. Good luck over the coming days.

Doreen G said...

This is devastating Ro-I have been watching the news tonight where the death toll has now reached over 80.
This brings back bad memories of our firestorm in 2003.Our hearts go out to all of those that are affected.

Dave King said...

The only good thing about it is that you are okay. May it always stay that way. You have our prayers and anxious thoughts. I can't imagine what it must be like - and we've been complaining about a foot of snow! You show us up!

Shayla said...

Hard to believe so much can change in one day. Stay safe.

Julie said...

We have been seeing the film of this devastation on the news here. It is heartbreaking. I am so pleased that you are safe. My thoughts are with you and all those working tirelessly. Keep safe, Ro.

Steph said...

Glad you're safe ... wish I could send you some rain.. take care

Julie H said...

As I sit here I can here the distorted voices of firefighters crackling through two ways and men shouting. The fire which was under control in the reserve across the road has flared up again. For now we are safe. This afternoons experiences have given me a little taste of what Victorians must have felt this week and my heart goes out to you all. I am so glad that you are yours are safe.

Gaby Bee said...

I'm glad to hear you are safe and ok. Thinking of you!

Best wishes to you and your familie!

Gaby xo

misty said...

i am so happy to know you are safe. so sad to hear of such loss.
thinking of you and hoping this is the end of the fires and long, long days.
xoox

Cat said...

This is such terrible news. I'm glad you're ok and hoping that rain will come quickly.
To think that the last few days of news in the UK have consisted of people complaining that they can't get to work because of a bit of ice and snow makes me feel a bit sick really.
I'm thinking of you and everyone affected, and hoping there will be no further loss of life. Stay safe

mansuetude said...

Sending circles of prayers.... stay safe!

Kims Art said...

I was watching the news this morning and they were talking about the fires you are having. I know how you feel. We have been in a drought for years and still are. Not a bit of rain this winter. Not good with the hot summer coming on. A few years ago the county I live in almost went up in smoke. They evacuated the whole town. We put sprinklers up on the roof and grabed a few things and left. It was frightning. I was standing in my yard watching the hot ash fall to the ground still burning. My thoughts are with you and hope everything will be ok! Just the smoke lingering in the air is bad enough.

Sharon said...

So frightening. Thanks for letting us know you are Ok. Praying it stays that way.

Judy Wise said...

I am so sad for the loss and having to live with the fear; what a helpless feeling. I am praying for all of you, for your safety and for the end to these terrible fires and this oppressive weather.

lklight said...

We had something similar happen a few years back & it was very close to the house so I can completely relate to what you are going through.
My heart goes out to you & to the people & animals who have lost their lives.
Stay safe & know that you are in my thoughts.

rivergardenstudio said...

What a scary and terrible time for you and your country. i hope you have seen the worst of these fires and feel safe again... love to you, Roxanne

A rambling rose said...

Sending prayers to everyone - so glad you are safe

Gwen Buchanan said...

be careful and think ahead of this vicious fire Ro.. please take care...

JuliaRose said...

Hi Ro,
I hope you are okay..I was very worried for you, and I havent heard from Jacky since she emailed back to me Friday...
I have friends in Alex as well and havent heard from them...
xxx

Kim said...

Pleased to hear you are safe and well, how frightening it must have been for you, and how terrible for all those who are suffering now.

Robyn said...

So very frightening! We had temps of 45 last week but with rainy days in between to cool things down. There's nothing worse than day after day of high teperatures. I hope you have some respite soon Ro. Stay safe.

Candace said...

You and yours are in my thoughts. Keep us all posted. We saw the clip on CNN where the fires can be spotted from outer space!!! Incredible.
Take good care.
Candace in Athens

dieadjustormigrate said...

Ro,
i have been thinking a lot about you down there in Melbourne. we have had our fair share of dry spells and fires here in BC and i so feel for you.

it is in times such as these that we truly do come together as a people, isn't it? i am glad that you are safe and fine. i am sending rain wishes to you.

Olwyn

katie jane said...

Oh Ro, I am so glad you were spared. I feel so sorry for those who were not. We had bad fires like that in California, here in the States last summer. the seemed to go on for weeks. It gets very dry and hot there. The reporters said some of those fires were a result of arson, too. Another Aussie blogger said some of yours were started by arsonists. Who would be so crazy? I hope the worst is over and everything cools down.

Jo Wholohan said...

hard to believe ro, take care xx

Dot said...

Ro - this post made me cry. You are right we do live in a lucky country. Where people band together to help each other.

We have never known fires like this before. And the weather and dry conditions made for the worst environment for fire.

Thankyou for posting this. I am so glad you are OK. You have been very much in my thoughts.

Much love

Dot xx

lynne h said...

hi ro, i just want to tell you that i'm glad you and yours are safe... i'm thinking about you and sending prayers for no wind and lower temperatures... xxoo

Jo Horswill said...

Ro...it's been awful...glad your OK...we were concerned about the UFTG fire too...the news is just getting worse...
Stay well, Jo

Ginny Gaskill said...

Ro,
I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is so scary to not know what is happening and who is being affected. We went through a fire here in New Mexico ten years ago and it was very frightening. I hope you get rain soon. God Bless

inventivesoul said...

I logged in to check on you and Jenny this morning after hearing of the fires.
~*Ro*~
You have my prayers for staying safe and cool.

Amber

Regina said...

Ro,

My thoughts are with you and the other people out there, wishing you all the strength(and rain) that is needed!

Regina

Waltraud said...

So glad to hear you are allright,
hugs
Waltraud

girl_gone_thread_wild said...

Ro, been thinking on you... praying for your safety and for the well being of your country... RAN here to know you are ok. Currently in TX with family, keeping you in my thoughts!

your friend, monica

Deryn Mentock said...

Ro...how horrible. I'm so sorry this is happening. I'll keep you all in my prayers.

3rdEyeMuse said...

will continue sending my thoughts and prayers to you and your countrymen. stay safe.

if you have a chance, please let us know what items are needed & where we can send them ... many of us accross the world cannot come physically to lend our hands, but we would like to offer our help & support in some small way.

Judy Scott said...

Im safe in my home watching the devastion that is happening on your doorstep and feel so very useless, Im so thankful you are safe and just know you are in my prayers and thoughts ~ Judy x

Holly Loves Art said...

My thoughts are with you, Ro. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and heartfelt post.

All my best,
Holly

artistsgardenstudio said...

Ro,
I have been thinking about you
K

Jacky said...

stay safe Ro

Aurora said...

Ro, I am so, so sorry for the fires and devastation you are experiencing and so saddened by the loss of human and animal life. I pray you will have rain and God's protection. I have lived in California all my life and live in a brush fire area. I know first hand the nightmare you are experiencing. I hope it is all over soon for you. My heart goes out to you. Aurora

femminismo said...

Just had to come check back in after watching the news. Such devastation and so much loss. Please do let us know how we - who are far away - can help; besides our prayers, that is. Jeanne in Oregon

paru's_circle said...

sincere condolences to all in dear australia, i cry as i write this, i lived a few years down under and left a part of me behind, words cnnot express the way i feel, praying right now

Anonymous said...

Hope you are ok, may you have strenght and serenity to deal with this situation.

How can we help!??? So much devastation.

Lourdes, San Juan,PR

Ann Christine Dennison said...

You must have been frightened, I most certainly would be. I am sending you my prayers. I had heard about the fires in the news, didn't realise that I knew someone who was affected, it puts it a lot closer!

Jackie said...

Its too horrible for us to imagine, and thats all we have to do, you have to live it. It must be truly terrifying.I hope you get some relief soon and stay safe.
x

Seth said...

I am a little late to this post Ro but I just want you to know that I have been thinking about and praying for everybody involved. Such a tragedy!

Marilyn Rock said...

Happy to read you are okay. I will keep positive thoughts and prayers for all there. It's just been chilling to see it on the news; just devastating.