Monday, February 09, 2009

Grateful not to live in Rural Victoria right now.
I have a fire plan; that is to stay with the house anf follow what the Rural fire service people told us when they spoke to our little area... but how brave would I be with a wall of flames barrelling towards my house. How mnay of these people stayed with their houses but ran at the last minute. I feel so much for the people is a shocking way to die and the land that was familiar becomes a nightmare.

From Nine news,

The Victorian Bushfires have now killed 108 ppeople confirmed. No one knows how many are injured but it would have to be more
There was little rest for many firefighters overnight, with 25 bushfires still raging out of control at 3.30am (AEDT) on Monday.
At least 750 homes have been destroyed and an estimated 330,000 hectares burnt out while authorities said some fires could take weeks to contain.
The latest death toll, announced by Victoria Police at 2am on Monday, surpasses the toll from the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, in which 75 people died in Victoria and South Australia, and the Black Friday bushfires of 1939, which killed 71.
Reflecting the chaos caused by the fires, police early Monday said they could not identify the exact location where five of the victims died.
Of the confirmed deaths, at least 63 perished in the largest blaze, in the Kinglake region, that has cut a vast swath across the central highlands from Wandong, south to Kinglake and nearby Saint Andrews, and northeast towards the upper Goulburn Valley.
One fire official said the blaze now had a perimeter extending "hundreds of kilometres" and may take weeks to contain.
The Kinglake fire, which sprawls across 220,000 hectares - about two-thirds of the area destroyed by fires across Victoria - has all but consumed towns including Kinglake and Marysville.
Former Nine Network Melbourne newsreader Brian Naylor, 78, and his wife Moiree are among the nine people that died at tiny Kinglake West as the flames swept in on Saturday.
It's expected more burned houses, and more victims, will be found once day breaks.
Victorian Emergency Control Centre spokeswoman Caroline Douglass said the Kinglake fire poses two major threats.
Residents of Taggerty, Acheron, Snobs Creek and Eildon are on alert, with the fire active in their area.
"There are quite a lot of hot spots in that area and it is still quite dangerous," Ms Douglass said.
Residents in the Kinglake area have also been asked to remain alert, with containment lines not completed.
Fears are held for communities near Beechworth, in the state's northeast, where a fire has burned 30,000 hectares so far, Ms Douglass said.
Two people died at the village of Mudgeegonga, in the hills south of Beechworth on Sunday.
Ms Douglass said the fire was still threatening Stanley, Bruarong, Dederang, Gundowring, Gundowring Upper, Kancoona, Kancoona South, Coral Bank, Glen Creek and Running Creek.
The fire had entered the Mount Big Ben area, southeast of Yackandandah, and while quiet overnight may affect Kergunyah, Kergunyah South and Gundowring North during the morning.
Further spotting east of the Kiewa River may also put the towns of Eskdale and Little Snowy Creek at risk.
"The wind is expected to swing to the south and it will push the fire in the direction of Yackandandah over the next day," she said.
In Gippsland, the 32,860 hectares Churchill fire burned almost to the coast and claimed 21 lives.
Ten died at Calignee, south of Traralgon in the Latrobe Valley, with five dead at nearby Hazlewood, two at Jeeralang and four at Koornalla.
Fire activity had eased overnight but a host of townships are on alert, including Hazelwood South, Jeeralang, Jeeralang North, Jeeralang Junction, Balook, Le Roy, Jumbuck, Valley View, Budgeree East, Traralgon South, Callignee, Calignee North, Calignee South, Carrajung Lower, Won Wron, Woodside, Devon North, Yarram, Calrossie, Alberton, Tarraville, Port Albert, Langsborough, Manns Beach and Robertsons Beach.
The Bunyip Ridge fire in west Gippsland burned 25,000 hectares.
"It has much-reduced fire behaviour, which is great, but we are yet to get containment lines around it completely. We ask residents to remain vigilant there," Ms Douglass said.
A blaze that has killed two people at Bendigo, and another near Horsham, have been contained by fire crews.
With fires also burning in the Yarra Valley, east of Melbourne, staff at Healesville Sanctuary have evacuated its entire threatened species collection.
Staff have transferred 60 helmeted honeyeaters (including eggs and hatchlings), 25 mountain pygmy possums and their pouch young, 32 Tasmanian devils, 69 orange-bellied parrots, two brush-tailed rock Wallabies and five koalas to Melbourne Zoo as part of the sanctuary's emergency management plan.
Ms Douglass said the weather was the key to gaining the upper hand.
"The weather in the south has been much cooler. In the north of the state, though, it's still very warm. It's very dry," she said.
Moderate to fresh southwest to southerly winds are predicted for Victoria, with isolated light showers on and south of the ranges and morning isolated thunderstorms in the north, where it would remain warm with very high fire danger.
Workers at the emergency control centre are doing it tough but are more worried about firefighters in the field, Ms Douglass said.
"It's certainly sombre, especially as they keep updating the death toll. Every time it goes up, it gets a bit quieter," she said.
"It's hard to keep going knowing the impact this is having in the broader community but I think it's a lot harder on the firefighters out doing their jobs that keep discovering more houses that are burnt or more remains of people. It must be very tough on them."


Jules said...

Is that what the Rural Fire Service say, to stay with the house? That would probably go against every instinct an animal has to flee fire. What is the reasoning behind it because I heard this on the news this morning too, that they should have stayed with their homes??

I have watched in disbelief and crying a heap. My heart goes out.

Anonymous said...

I think that is what they advise people in Calafornia if they planned to stay in the area of an active fire danger. I suppose you clear the immediate area of any dry scrub, creating an earth barrier and in theory it should go around the house. Not sure I would be happy with that, I would be gone and pray that my house was safe. CAn't imagine what it must be like for all these people and all the animals, its too horrible to think about.

Keep safe MC and pray for cool wet days!

Middle Child said...

Jules and Jacqui,
The Rural fire service advise to stay with the a NORMAL bushfire. This was a firestorm. No rules apply really. At times this was moving accross the trees at 2okms in 2 mins. The heat was so intense it blew large gum trees out of the ground roots and all...houses exploded before they burnt.

In a normal intensity bushfire the fire passes quickly over the house and if one stays with the gitters full and plenty of cotton mops and water dtored in bathtubs, curtain closed etc you can then getoutside after the fire passes and put out the embers which are what sets a house on fire...

This was happened so quickly too quickly and where do you go when the whole area is in fire...when it takes out the whole town you live in...?

Also because of new environment laws the regular back burning and cleaning up of the national parks floor has not taken place for years...they have a lot to answer for in this latest one...but no doubt are comfortable in their parliamentary offices far removed from the tragedy...

I just feel sick at heart...what would i have done dirrefent, being on the end of a dead end road...? Would I have stayed...probably...when in my head would I have realised this was a firestorm and not a normal bushfire...probably at the last minute..and could my old van outrun a fire that was doing 20kms in 2 mins on a huge front...I don't think I am very grateful for the patch of green around me, the mown paddocks all of us have maintained and for my own little spot of heaven...but none of this would have been any protection with this...
Sorry...I just feel so many of the people are obviously battlers.

FoxyMoron said...

It's beyond belief. I've been watching all day on Sky news and just now reading about it in the paper. So many tragic stories. What a horrible way to die.
I can't turn my hand to anything else today except feeding the family.

Anne said...

Have been following from over here. Just can't even begin to imagine the terror of those people. My friend lives in Victoria, going to phone her tonight.

Anonymous said...

I think it is worth noting that at this point even thouth the north east Victoria fires have been branded the 'Beechworth Fires', Beechworth the township has been unscathed, rather the fire started just out of Beechworth has been so labelled. It is more the townships of Stanley and the towns towards Myrtleford that have been impacted upon. Our thoughts are with our neighbours. Jamie

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

Its a horrific tragedy :(

Random Thinker said...

What horrible devastation. I can't imagine being trapped by fire with no way out. Not sure how close you are to the fires but please be safe MC.

Middle Child said...

Foxymoron...beyond belief and beyond all we can imagine.

Anne I hope your Victorian feind is a okay.

Beechworth...I feel so flat...can't take it in...wonder would i would have done if there...nothing different than those who died...its shocking.

Mal you are spot on

Random Thinker I am fine...I am surroundeed by water from the floods...bizarre isn't it????