Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Tasmania Has Been Burning

I haven't put up a blog in a bit so thought it was time.  So far Tasmanians are not having the wonderful summer they were expecting.

Fires that are happening right now.
The blue fires are ones to keep close on
that could flare up at any time
Photo source: tas.fires.gov.au
We have been subjected to the great Aussie Bush Fires that hit somewhere in this country quite catastrophically every summer.  Sometimes it is caused by Mother Nature with her lightning strikes, sometimes it is pure carelessness like the camper who recently walked away from his campfire and created a catastrophic result. Then there is always the rampant arsonist creating misery for people.

The fire nearest us is on the east coast of Tasmania, 60 kms down the road but much closer as the crow flies.  We could see the red glow in the sky from our front yard at night and I must say it was the eeriest thing I have ever seen.

A smouldering stump, forgotten combined with a day of 41.9 degree heat C (104 F) and gale force winds  caused it to flare and as a result more than 130 properties have been lost.  People woke up that day, came into Hobart, going about their business and learned they could not get back to the peninsula where Dunalley sits at the top.

Gone were their homes, their businesses, their pets, their flocks of sheep, their histories and livelihoods.

The Tasmanian community has certainly done more than rally.  Everyone not only from Tasmania but from around the world have sent in donations of money and one woman wanted to send a load of hay from Denmark for the animals.  Fences were cut by farmers so their animals could run.

Western Australians have sent convoys of fire fighters as well as Victoria and New South Wales.  It is simply stunning to watch the emergency services come to the fore.  All of the infrastructure for electricity and communication has been lost. Crews are working tirelessly restoring services and I know this town will rebuild.

Dozens of animal welfare groups have been out collecting any animals; farm, pets, wildlife and taking them to the veterinarians who have opened their practices up for free to these burned animals. RSPCA, Dog's Homes, Cat Centres, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary have all been doing their part.

The view from our front yard. (Mercury Newspaper)
As for us we have been on Facebook and when someone posts up something they need we try to help out the best we can. The feeling of helplessness has been difficult for us and our friends who were not affected directly.  Though that statement is probably quite misleading. Whenever one sees suffering nearby   the normal human response is to help.

Can you imagine this in your back yard ?

A child's toy is all that remains here.
We spent a morning at the Food Bank sorting donated food, clothing and bedding and were truly awed at the amount of nice things that have been donated.

The little town of Dunalley lost their life's timber business, their shops,
service stations, bakery and the life of one Victorian fire fighter who came
down to help. Amazingly no other loss of human has been reported.
People ran from this town and took shelter in the water. Fortunately
they were on the coast.
I think I have said enough.  Although I have been reading a bit, it has been more reading online to see what we can do to help, reading magazines that require no concentration and even watching more TV than usual. Anything to escape.  To concentrate on great literature and to read blogs at the moment just seem so pointless.   People sorting their books, discussions of book stores, topics I always love have just seemed insignificant.  But I realise it is important for everyone to get back to their own structures of life that give them comfort and now the adrenaline has worn off, things are settling a bit though tomorrow is predicted to be 30's C and if it is windy again the ongoing fires will flare up.  

This little guy was rescued by a fire fighter, burns to 50 % of his
body but he is going to live though will be in hospital
for a long time. His fellow pets weren't so fortunate.
He has been reunited with his owners.
It is going to be a nervous summer because all of us live near bushland and it could just as easily be any of us.

I look at my beautiful library of close to 4000 books and think what would I do if it was us and I lost all these things. But in the end I know it is my family and my beautiful animals that I would pile into the car and take first to shelter.  Everything else can be replaced.    Times like this, as clich├ęd as it is, really does show you what is important. Next post will be about a book. I promise.


In memory of the brave fire fighter , Peter Cramer from Victoria
who lost his life working in Tasmania's fires

The fire photos were sourced from the Mercury Newspaper Hobart