Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wildfire #2

One sister is leaving town. "My kids are getting more and more upset. They're getting all the old folk out of the hospital. The school's shut down. It's so smoky here. We're leaving."

Annie's house was obliterated yesterday. She's lost everything* and is running on a strange kind of adrenalin when I talk to her. I'm still waiting for her to crash.
"That house would have exploded ... the fuel tins I stored under the veranda, and my best motorbike too ...but my Nissan Urvan - the fire burnt in a neat circle right around it! That is my best car. I'm so stoked. Also, you'd never credit it, someone gave me a fire fighting unit the day before yesterday!"
"Well, that's not really useful when you've gotta race in, grab your paperwork and leave," I said.
"Yeah ... especially because there wasn't even a hose attached!"

My other sister (I have lots of  sisters in Margs) is contemplating the fire front heading for her house as I write this post. She's in town and has been convoying cars, dogs, boats and furniture from her forest block all day. "You wouldn't believe the gusts. Fifty, sixty kilometres an hour. Then it just stops and we think everything's okay. The fire is making its own weather system. But now the wind has changed and its blowing the fire front towards the town. Everyone is freaked out."
She's worried about her landlord/neighbour who is refusing to leave. "He's like the captain of the Titanic, the stupid bastard. He's out there getting pissed."

On my last phone call, the sisters were okay but seriously rattled and tired after twenty-four hours of drama, sleeping with mates, community briefings and stressing out over horses etc. One sister wants to break a few DEC kneecaps but as I reminded her, "You'd hesitate at the crucial moment, darl. I know you too well."

Tonight ...  the FESA incident controller Roger Armstrong told the community meeting that conditions were unlikely to get better. "It'll be traveling fast, the sky will go dark, it'll be very scary, and there'll be a lot of noise," he said.

*except her Urvan!


  1. Going fishing for flathead now (with my phone).

  2. Jesus Sarah! And us with 2 fires, one to the north-west and one to the north-east. But hopefully not as bad as your sisters' situation. This is one bitch of a country alright - I love it but it takes no prisoners. Gives me such respect for the original inhabitants who have lived with it for millenia.

  3. Sarah that is tough!
    So very tough that it is hard for us who live in soggy lands to truly comprehend. In our silence we are not ignoring you & yours, it is just the inability to find find real words of comfort.

  4. Thanks Mr Heron and MF. The weather continues ... it's gum tree county here, the air full of warmed up, flammable oils. This country is geared up to burn but it is so, so scary when your home is in the way.

  5. Thinking about you and yours Sarah. Take care.