Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Victorian Bushfires - Australia 12th Feb 2009


For all those kind overseas people who are asking.
We're all Ok!

Fortunately we are no where near the fire zone.

Our son is training with the Queensland fire Department at the moment so has not been "drafted" to fight the fires. In any case if he were drafted, he would probably be required in Queensland were he lives, as whole sections of Nth Queensland are underwater because of floods due to cyclones.

It's one of the other tragedies of this whole thing is that Nth Queenslanders are in as much difficulty and just as many are out of a home, because their houses are underwater, but they don't get the same publicity because there is much less loss of human life.

We have friends that have lost their house and animals in the fires but at least they're safe.

I rang them in a panic the other day as soon as I heard that the fires were heading to their area and could not get them on the phone. My wife found their mobile number and I was very relived to hear my friends voice. Never-the-less the reason why there was no answer on there phone was because there was no longer any house for the phone to be connected to.

Our friends were very concerned that they had not been able to fined their friends, who stayed behind to try to fight the fire.

I was so happy about finding my friends alive that I was telling everybody about it and then I realized I had to stop doing that when one lady who I was telling, almost broke into tears because she had family in one of the fires and had not been able to contact them. We have other friends who have friends who lost two of their three children.

It's all very conflicting and hard to deal with emotionally.

We are used to bush fires in this country and over the years because of past tragedies have learned how to cope. Last year we had a bush fire that stretched 100Km (63 approx. miles) and there was no loss of life and little loss of property though the wildlife suffered badly.

These fires are something else.

When I first heard of the first fatality my reaction was a very common one. "They must have been, being stupid". Then, as the news came out, we began to realize, that most of these people had no chance.

Many of these fires came from multiple directions at once and at such intensity they in some places melted steel.

Many were spreading at 100km / hr with the winds blowing faster than that, spreading the fire thourgh the burning ash everywhere. There are places where the roads are too winding to travel at anything more than 60km and we get told of the smoke being so thick that you couldn't see to walk let alone to drive.

One surviver talks about the roar of thunder, others describe the sound of an atomic bomb as fire rampages down the mountain.

One person who survived told how he had sheltered in a bunker that his wife made him build for just such an occasion. When they found themselves trapped they went into their shelter. The bloke tells of how he thought they were goners anyway, as they watched the steel door glow "red hot" from the fire as it passed.

Now there is a lot of anger as it turns out that some of the fires were lit by arsonists.

More water than we can handle at the Nth end of Oz, no water and fire at the Sth. If only we had pipes long enough we could fix it all.

Richard

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