"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Victorian Bushfires

All of the detail below is changing constantly, and sad to say

none of it seems to be good news at present

Victorian Bushfires.February 8 2009.

104 people are confirmed dead in Victoria's bushfires at the time of writing, it is expected this will rise much further as more areas are made accessible to search, this far surpassing the state's toll of 47 in the 1983 Ash Wednesday blazes, and the 71 death toll of the Black Friday fires in 1939.

Blazes continue to ravage the state with well over 312,000 hectares affected. At least 700 homes have been destroyed - 550 of those in Kinglake and surrounding areas.

The Kinglake complex fires north-east of Melbourne are now at least 80 kilometres wide and 220,000 hectares in size, after several fires merged. .

More than 70,000 hectares have been burnt in Gippsland, and last week's fire in the Delburn area has again raised its head.

The Red Cross has about 20 relief centres operating, with 3700 people now registered as evacuated.

Please click on the photos to enbiggen. (All photos have been sourced from the web)

These first two photos are of the lovely town of Yarra Glen, this is very close to where we lived at Dixons Creek way back in 1939 when the horrific Black Friday fires blazed all around us.

At night or when the smoke is thick enough to black out the daylight and the flames become much more visible the images become more graphic.

The devistation is visible in the background and also in the face of this survivor.

Very little was spared by the greedy flames, the chimneys are testament to a climate that at times is quite cold.

Families were not spared as these young people show, in many cases there has been deaths of parents or children which of course make the situation even harder to bear.

This was a scene repeated over and over, collisions caused by the dense smoke hiding the danger of other vehicles, trees, either still standing or as debris blocking roads.

Utter devastation everywhere you looked or pointed a camera.

I have travelled this road several times, its natural beauty now changed forever for the residents that survived the horror of Black Sunday.

Some of the debris which made roads impassable in heavy bush land.

The heartbreaking task of searching through burnt out houses and cars for the
bodies of those who didn't survive

Just one of many glimpses of the awesome power unleashed by a bushfire in full swing, the heat, and noise of rushing wind both have to be experienced to be believed.

Over many years the advice has been to stay in your car or your house if you haven't been able to escape in time, this advice didn't take into account the ferocity of the fires that engulfed huge areas of the state of Victoria on this weekend.

Stark reminders of the end of somebody's dreams, there are more than 700 such reminders in the fire affected areas.

Fire racing up a slope at a speed much faster than a running person or animal.

An almost ghostly figure seen here desperately trying to turn back a monster.

There are of course hundreds of burns victims as well as those overcome by smoke inhalation who need medical treatment.

Mopping up and ensuring no future flare ups is an important part of fire fighting.

Water bombing in otherwise inaccessible country is the only form of defence that can be used.

Depicting the incredible bravery of the men and women of the Country Fire Authority who battled the devastating fires that covered much of the state during the past week, and who are still hard at it trying desperately to mop up those blazes that are still burning.

As I said at the start of this post the details are changing constantly, the death toll is expected to keep rising for several days until the searching of burnt out ruins is completed, and until those who have been hospitalized are able to be declared out of danger.


Maria said...

Terrible, terrible. My heart goes out to all who are suffering as a result of these horrendous fires. We here in Southern California are very, very aware of what fire and wind can do to a community.

As soon as I heard about the fires, I thought, I have to visit Peter's blog. The internet brings us all so much closer and I wanted to make sure you were okay.

karisma said...

Wow those are some great shots! I have been frantic all day as I have three friends down there, finally they are all accounted for, my blood ran cold. One of them spent the first night with her daughter caught right in the middle of it, surrounded by fire! Thankfully they got her out, but how sad for the families that did not make it. Its terrible!

Jack K. said...

Peter, we are so sorry to hear of the devastation you are all experiencing. On the news this evening there was mention of folks being burned alive in their cars while trying to escape the flames.

I hope all is well with you and yours.

Puss-in-Boots said...

The whole thing is just so devastating to read about and I cannot imagine what it would be like down there. I just pray relief comes very soon in the form of rain.

What about family and friends you have in Victoria, Peter, are they okay?

Romany Angel said...

I just wanted to stop by and make sure you're okay. It's such a relief when you visit a Victorian's blog at the moment and see that they've posted about the fires because that hopefully means they're ok.

I also deeply admire and respect the fire fighters, especially the volunteers, who put their lives on the line in horrific conditions. Each and every one of them are heroes to me.

Stay safe and I hope all your friends and family are safe too.

Jan said...

All the Australian Fun Monday participants have been in my thoughts. Here is Southern California, we also experience wildfires, so I know you need a lot of prayers and hope.

Molly said...

Even with the pictures, it is difficult to imagine the magnitude of these fires. We are keeping Australia in or thoughts and prayers.

kenju said...

Peter, I saw this in our paper this morning and I immediately wondered if you or your family had been affected. I surely hope not. The devastation shown in your photos is heartbreaking. I hope it is all over soon.

Pamela said...

rain... let there be rain....

Hootin' Anni said...

I've been watching all this on our news and reading what I can on the internet of all that is happening in your country. The flooding too. And Merle...is she doing okay too?

I do hope you are out of harms way Peter. And I love your photo below...for Fun Monday. What a wonderful view from your doorstep!! I could SO live there.

My Fun Monday is posted, I do hope you can stop by!

Dave said...

I'm glad you're ok Peter... as I hope Merle is.

I heard about this yesterday... so sad...

Cliff said...

Peter, first the view is lovely from your current residence below.
Secondly, I'm so sorry to hear of the fires. They are getting a little press here. Our press has their own agendas and Austrailia is on the list.
I have seen quite a few pics and a little footage. It's obviously the worst thing going on in the world for quite some time. I know the feeling well of just wishing that it would cloud up and rain hard over a large area but worrying about the weather your entire life tends to take it's toll. My prayer for all of you is cooling, hard rain and peace for those who have lost so very much. Godspeed.

Gledwood said...

That is dreadful ... The pictures look like something out of Armageddon. The fires are all over the news here, front page and 1st item...

Coincidentally I saw an old Steve Irwin clip the other day, rescuing koalas etc from a wildlife park in a fire. Stupidly it had never occured to me how many of these animals get burned and injured in fires. Killed yes obviously but I'd never considered animal casualties

the whole thing is very very sad and I can't believe people would actually start these things on purpose. If that really is the case they shouldn't waste money locking them up, just chuck them in a cremator and be done with

Gattina said...

It is so terrible I don't know what to say ! We are so helpless against nature ! We follow it day by day here in Belgium too. I imagine the hell would be like that.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Oh Peter, I have been watching the newscasts and reading about these fires and the deaths...so horrible.
Mother Nature has dealt us some pretty awful blows. I only pray this will soon be under control and over and done with. Too many people have lost their lives already. It just breaks my heart. Stay safe my friend...Love, Joy

jill said...

i thought our flooding was bad, but at least it's managable and you can predict what it will do to some extent fire is not that way unfortunately...

Jenni said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this. I was aware there were some wildfires going on in Australia, but hadn't seen how bad. Fire can be so beautiful, but also so deadly. What is that saying about fire? A wonderful servant but an awful master or something? I hope the fires are soon under control without any more loss of life or property.

Gramma Ann said...

Thank you for the pictures and the updates on all the devastation going on in Australia, we hear about it on the TV news shows here. But, to view it from your perspective is so much more accurate and informative. The situation is just so sad, I hope it will soon be under control and life can get back to normal, if that will ever be possible. Thanks again for keeping us abreast of what is happening in your part of the world.

Sayre said...

Those pictures are so impressive! We have wildfires here in the US (mainly in the west, but sometimes here in Florida too), but rarely is there the loss of life that you all have suffered over there! America is keeping Australia in their prayers tonight!

Junebug said...

We hear of fires in California every year with the Santa Anna winds but this is much more devastating! The sad photos of those burned out and wrecked cars! I honestly cannot even imagine. Sending prayers for gentle rains to come and help for all those who have lost lives and homes. I'm so sorry.

Laurie said...

I'm glad you're okay. I hope all your friends and family are okay as well.

Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ 5 pm Tuesday ~ they expect the death toll to top 300. There were 7 killed at Steel's Creek, and Toolangi is under fire from the Healesville fires. So I guess Dixons Creek will cop it also.
We have had up to 2 hours of News
on most stations and the papers are full of it.. The sun last night was bright red and we can see smoke here as well as smell it. Bendigo started up again. It's all too awful.
I am thankful that S.A. doesn't have any major fires ~ usually when we have them, the hills around Adelaide have them at the same time. I think Healesville had 147 dead, so there will be more from other places.
Take care, Love, Merle.

Jeanette said...

Gday Peter . What can I say,!!!
I am saddened by the total devastion and loss of life...

Ralph said...

Having fought forest fires in the past I have seen that kind of devastation up close. But nothing to the extent you are experiencing. The fire fighters are to be commended, and the residents and victims prayed for.

Rachel said...

I heard about this on the news. I so hate to see fire like this anywhere. It's so heartbreaking for everything in harms way; the people and their property, the animals, and the trees....everything! Those brave people who fight those fires endure so much and work so hard. My prayers go out to all involved and I pray that they can get them all stopped.

Christina said...

How absolutely devastating. My heart goes out to the victims of these fires. The story reminds me of the wildfires we get in California.

Karen said...

This is all so awful and senseless. My heart goes out to everyone. Take care of yourself! I'm glad you're safe.

Jamie Dawn said...

The devastation is beyond belief. From a distance, we cannot even begin to know the horror of those who have survived and those who are on the front lines fighting those fires. California always suffers wildfires every year due to the very dry weather and strong winds. The amount of acreage that has been destroyed in Australia is so huge it's hard to fathom.
It makes me sick to think of those who were caught in such horrific situations and could not escape.

Walker said...

I have been watching on the news and we have talked to relatives in Australia and its horrible.
The devastation of property is nothing compaired to the tragety of lost life.
I hope a solution for the future comes about from all of this.
Hang the arsonists for one.