Terrible Fires in Australia

Bill Richardson ixia@dcsi.net.au
Sun, 08 Feb 2009 21:00:34 PST
Hi Mary Sue,
thanks for your post  and thoughts regarding our bushfires. The death toll 
here in Victoria is well up over 100 and still rising. Many of the fires are 
still burning and threatening whole communites and hundreds of houses have 
been lost.
My youngest daughter and her family live in Noojee which was evacuated 
yesterday. She drove through and around falling trees with two young 
children,  to get to a relief station at a nearby town, where they were put 
up in a local hall overnight and provided with food and water. She couldn't 
get out any further becasue the roads were too dangerous. Her husband Mat, 
stayed to  save the house burning from falling embers and he spent the day 
putting out spot fires around the house on the propery, with his  pumps 
ready to pour water on the house if it went up. Luckily, it didn't and the 
fires went around the town. Angela has gone back home today to help him if 
it threatens again. Luckier than others who didn't survive or save anything.
My wife and I are in a town that is surrounded by fires but not threatened 
immediately. Our threat was the intense heat (46C), the choking smoke and 
the burning embers that were falling on our property, house and cars. We 
spent the day picking up embers and making sure nothing was  burning. Just 
up the road, the local golf club suffered spot fires from burning embers but 
no serious damage. In the next town, 10 mins away, two houses went up in 
smoke because of burning embers swept across the sky from a fire burning a 
few miles away in the Bunyip National Park. This fire is under control but 
threatening, because of the high winds carrying burning embers for miles.
As you mentioned, Don Journet is a firefighter, a brave man who is off 
fighting these fires. These men put their own lives at risk as well. They 
are brave Australians. He emailed me the other day to say that his fire unit 
was possibly being sent to our area, but it went somewhere else instead.
The fires are burning all around us here but hopefully will not reach us. It 
has been devastating for many of our friends close by who have had to 
evacuate and then find their properties destroyed.
We are all in emergency mode and helping with food and supplies and 
accommodation if needed. We have had a young girl staying with us who was 
isolated from her family in Churchill as all the roads were closed and all 
train  transport has been cancelled. She has managed to get home today. If 
we wanted to get out of here, we couldn't either, because all roads are 
closed north and south.
Let's hope the situation will ease soon.
Many thanks to all who have passed on their kind thoughts and good wishes. 
We will be glad whenever this stops.
Bill Richardson
Victoria, Australia
Summer 6 c. to 26c. at present

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mary Sue Ittner" <msittner@mcn.org>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Monday, February 09, 2009 2:07 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Terrible Fires in Australia

> Dear Paul,
> I'm glad you posted this and I'm sure we all share your concerns. 48
> degrees C. (118 degrees F.) has to make fighting fires unbearable.  Don
> Journet, Lachenalia expert from this list, is a volunteer fire fighter who
> lives in Victoria so I assume he is hard at work and I hope he'll be safe.
> When we visited him a couple of years ago he said that the philosophy is
> different in Australia than in the United States. Here in California they
> urge you to leave if fires are threatening and in Australia since the
> houses are built with greater fire resistant materials people stay to try
> to protect their homes and this often makes a difference. But with the
> large number of casualties and towns destroyed, the fires must have been
> unstoppable.
> Mary Sue
> _______________________________________________
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> pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
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