Friday, January 18, 2013

10 years ago today...

Australia's capital city burned. Fires encircled Canberra, generated their own weather, created cyclones of fire, massive balls of flame and destroyed 500 houses.  People died, people were burned.  Animals died - stock, pets, wildlife.  The furnace was so intense that it ripped through the pine forests, the trees left bent in the direction that the flames burned. The fires extended from here down into Victoria.

The weather today is as it was 10 years ago.  It is hot, the winds are dry, strong and gusty.  I find myself checking the sky, half listening for the water bombing helicopters, for the sirens that call emergency.  It's a total fireban day,and likely to stay that way for a while.

We weren't burned.  I've done this before, while living on a farm.  I know the routine, the preparations.  It was night-dark at 2pm with the smoke.  I was on-call for work, but the mobile phone network was overloaded and besides, power went in so many suburbs.

Coonabarabran and the Warrumbungles have a massive fire - it's gone through Siding Springs and the astronomers don't yet know how bad the damage is.  There's a nasty bushfire down Cooma way, another bad one in Victoria's Gippsland. Business as usual in an Australian summer.

The weather patterns and climate scientists suggest that this is how it will continue.  Hotter days and more of them, more fires, a cycle of destruction and drying out that it is probably too late to stop.  Maybe we can ameliorate it.  I doubt there is the political will.  We are frogs in water, coming to the boil.  Maybe we can adapt.  But the future is frightening.

1 comment:

  1. It's so interesting to read your version of life, it is so different from mine and a reality that I just can't imagine, your daily life is entwined with the landscape and nature. I am dying to get out of the city, if i could move I'd go tomorrow.


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