Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This was taken yesterday by MODIS on the NASA Aqua satellite. Kinglake and Marysville were completely wiped out with Marysville being declared a crime scene as police went in to recover bodies which were still lying in the streets.


R.H. said...

This was a new kind of bushfire. Sudden. More like a bomb. Old notions of staying behind to defend your home will change after what happened in Kinglake and Mansfield. These towns are gone, wiped out by an inferno that moved so quick it was too late to change your mind and flee. People tried, and were incinerated in their cars. Others hiding from the heat got vaporised as their houses exploded. Trees themselves exploded -blown out of the ground, roots and all. It was hell alright, that’s what they’re calling it. But we should have known. I’ve always lived in Melbourne and never seen a Summer like this, we get hot days, sure, but three in a row at 45C is brand new to me. My garden shrivelled up, leaves turned to dust, across the road a line of agapanthus outside a fence that could merrily survive dogs pissing on them every day went stone dead in the heat. I’ve never seen this before, that’s all I can say. Quite simply, it’s never happened. When the fat belly Royal Commission into the fires is over the big advice from it will be to LEAVE, get out early, don’t stay to fight fires. But of course you need a warning before you can do that. Kinglake got none at all.


Cross posted at a poetess blog. She's lovely.

Caroline said...

So too RH living in the bush should come with some mandatory skills and a willingness to take responsibility for yourself--whether that be to secure your house as best you can and leave, or have a worst case scenario plan if you stay and somewhere safe to retreat to. In these recent fires, worse case scenarios were not enough for many poor souls because there was nowhere safe to go.

In the bushfires in the Mountains in 2001 I was agog with people's complacency and their attitude that the 'authorities' would deal with it.

Fire prone areas should be continuously monitored all through summer. All these raging infernos started out as being easily extinguished. Some authorities used to have the idea of 'monitoring' a fire. No, no, no, put the fucker out while you can. An elvis aircrane or three should be available for all states at all times. It takes three people to watch for fires and deal with them. One in a tower or a light aircraft looking out for fires, one on the ground ready to respond to any signs or even the smell of smoke, and one standing by with an aircrane. Leaving fires to burn even in areas where there is apparently no one living is clearly criminal.

In 2001 a friend of mine rang me at 1 pm to tell me she didn't wish to alarm me but that she could smell smoke--just smell it. She called in at the fire station--nobody there, she talked to a policeman parked in a car out the front, he hadn't heard of any fire, ipso facto one didn't exist. Eight hours later this fire had a head of steam on it that threatened the hamlet where I lived, burnt down one house and continued to burn out bushland for the next two weeks. If anybody had taken her seriously they would have found a fire they could easily have put out.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

That's a pretty bloody sobering image, CopperW (not that the images haven't been terrifying already). I've heard that the smoke has reached New Zealand.

Jayne said...

The Qld Box gum tree on my nature strip is older than me and it's only flowered twice in my living memory; the first time in the hot Summer 2006/2007 when we had those fires.
And Spring 2008.
It actually scared us to look at the amount of flowers on the damn thing, it's branches were pulled down with the weight of so many blooms.
Another native, a vine, shrivelled up despite constant watering and before the heat actually hit.
Nature seemed to know the gates of Hell were about to open.

Baron Sweetiepie said...

Mr Brumby! The man who would be king and fell into the job.

O' little cream-puff baby!

R.H. said...

The sun will fry this planet.

It's started already.

R.H. said...

Meanwhile insurance companies (and your glorious capitalist-stooge leaders) would like you to stay, fight fires, save your houses -and a payout.

"OH good heavens no!- life is precious!"

(ha ha ha)


JahTeh said...

Rh, I hope we never see anything like this again but how can you stop a mongrel who loves to set the bush alight just to get a kick.
I saw a bus where the metal had melted into rivulets in the dirt.
They're already predicting another bad weekend.

Caroline, two men survived in a brick and concrete bunker as the fire moved over them quickly but as I've said before, it's the radiant heat that kills.

I hope the Harlot parents and wonder dog Wilbur are safe and well.

Jayne, I know what you mean, the flowering gums around here were all like that but other gum trees have just shrivelled up. I see Perth had another 40 day so I hope that's not coming our way.

John Brumby, Kevin Rudd and Quentin Bryce have all acquitted themselves well this week. We're all going to pay for this.

River said...

This has spurred me to scan all of my family photos and important documents into my computer then moved onto a USB stick which will be carried with me at all times. Also typing lists of much loved possessions, eg favourite books, movies, that way if I lose everything, I'll still have copies of papers etc and lists of things I'd like to replace. I'm not in a bushfire risk area, but odder things have happened and there's always burglary to worry about.

Cazzie!!! said...

It just gets worse doesn't it?

R.H. said...

In a test for madness one of the questions I had to ask new arrivals at Mont Park Mental Hospital was who is the prime minister of Australia, and if they didn't know they got locked up. What a prize. Well the idea was to see how in touch they were with actuality, which I've never bothered with at all myself: earthquakes, typhoons, thousands killed and I couldn't care less, except for the innocents: animals and children. Well it's hug-time once again: love and grief. And because I don't care I wonder if I'm right in the head.

But then I see this:

1. Two-year-old put in Tumble Dryer.

2. Mother of Rubbish Tip Baby Hunted.

and relax, knowing that people are the fucking bastards they always will be.

JahTeh said...

That's a very good idea River, but what if it gets stolen. I've got everything in one place and only have to throw the box out the window but I'm thinking about your suggestion. I'm terrible with backing things up two or three times.

Cazzie, you must be inundated with patients. My sister had admissions to Kingston from Monash to free up beds but there were no ambulances so they came in a mini-van.

Rh, Australians seem to come together in times like this. I was thinking about New Orleans while I was watching the news tonight and we do the right thing in an emergency.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Thanks for thinking of Wilbur and my parents, Jahteh. The Bright council has spent the week bulldozing a whopping big fire break between the town and the Mount Beauty fire, which should (here's praying) do the trick if the wind turns. It's smoky though. They can't see across the valley.

Middle Child said...

What concerns me is how come they were immediatley so sure that all the fires were lit by arsonists... with the huge damage and firestorms that ensued...how can they fine the original site it started...like it puzzles me how neatly they came into this way of thinking...i have no doubt some were lit, but others, well one day they will learn to practice safe burnoffs yet again and not pander tio the ignorance of those who want it all to be left alone...
its just too bloody sad to take on deck