Thursday, 12 February 2009

Bushfires in Victoria

I haven't posted for a few days. I meant to, on several things, but like the rest of Australia I have been in thrall to the news of the Victorian bushfires. I am nowhere near Victoria, but it's truly a national disaster. For many Australians this could so easily be on our own doorsteps. At present over 180 people are confirmed dead and well over 1,000 homes lost. This is the worst natural disaster in the history of the Australian nation. I am not sure what more I can write and other topics have seemed a little trivial until now.

In January 2003, bushfires destroyed over 500 homes and killed four people in Canberra, the Australian capital city. We were living in Canberra then, in a suburb not directly affected, but close enough to the action to be on evacuation standby. We were in town on that fateful day and watched the firefighting helicopters flying back and forth, from lake to fire front, over and over. We escaped unscathed, but friends lost their houses and everything in them.

To give an idea of the scale of the Canberra fires, and how bad it must have been for the people in the heart of both these and the current Victorian fires, here are a couple of photos I took in 2003. The first is taken near the city centre about 1pm on a summer afternoon. We went to a movie and walked outside to drive home through this.

The second photo is taken from our suburb. The fire was stopped from crossing a major road just the other side of the hill in the picture - otherwise we'd have had a different story.

Nothing else to write on this right now. My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and their homes in Victoria this week.

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