Wednesday, November 23, 2011


 I was driving into town this morning and listening to the fire warnings on the radio. 'Catastrophic' was the potential scenario handed out to country north east of here. This is a new warning that morphed from the Ash Saturday disaster. Before then, Australians only had to deal with 'high' or 'extreme' fire danger.


Driving again in the afternoon, I heard that a fire was burning out of control near Margaret River. The announcer gave warnings about Caves Road. Shit. I rang my sister who lives in a little wooden hippy shack in the forest there. Her phone was dead. I rang two other sisters. "She's okay. She evacuated." Finally Annie rang me. "I got my tools and some clothes. (She is an extremely well dressed mechanic) But I think my house has just burnt down."


The directions on what to do for people living on Caves Road brings home how truly terrifying this fire is:



It is too late to leave. You need to take shelter in your home and actively defend it.
Take shelter inside furthest away from the fire front and make sure you can easily escape.
It is best to shelter in a room with two exits and a water supply such as a kitchen or laundry.
You must seek shelter before the fire arrives as the very hot radiant heat will kill you well before the flames reach you. Protect yourself with long sleeves, long trousers and strong leather boots.
If your home catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.
Do not leave in a vehicle or on foot as this is deadly."*

Images: Perth Now.


  1. They've just evacuated from the house they evacuated to ...

  2. Floods are bad enough but fire I believe is the worst. I sincerely hope that your friends and family manage to keep themselves safe.

  3. Yes, they'll be okay thanks Mr Heron. They've moved into the town centre tonight.

  4. Thank goodness they are all ok!
    Hope it's under control.

  5. Oh, cracky - your words and pics remind me of similar fires the South of France endures most summers... I got accustomed to them with time when living in Provence. In France, the vast majority of them are ignited by men (including volunteer firemen so low their income is!) for sheer economic reasons... Wildfires Aussie style reads something else though! Glad to read folk are okay :-)

  6. Glad your sister is okay. Scary stuff bush fires. ( The orange sky and cooking vegetation in VIC during fires is duly remembered)

    The 'controlled burn off' (so called) in WA has created a disaster.

    Plenty of room for discussion and pay outs here.

  7. Timely blog ST. So glad Annie is OK. Living in a high fire risk area myself this is particularly poignant. Today I will be making sure I have essential paperwork and back-up hard drive all packed and ready to go, and hope to hell I never have to implement my escape plan.

  8. Good plan MF, for your life amongst the gum trees. Hasn't Denmark got a DEC proscribed burn gone wrong there today?
    So yes Sontag, plenty of time for discussion there. Crazy.
    Thanks for your comments WY and Nat.

  9. That is terrifying sarah, especially the bit about the radiant heat.

    Is this a yearly event that you guys have to prep for?

    Glad you and your sibs are ok.

  10. Terrifying. My sister and folks are in Dunsborough

  11. But check it on the net Ciaran (I'm sure you already have) and the local radio 630 ABC is giving updates all the time.