Australian fires

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Rach3
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Australian fires

Post by Rach3 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:39 am

Are any of you at risk from the fires in New South Wales ? We of course pray not.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:04 am

How very kind of you to think of us; thanks very much. I live in one of the zones rated 'catastrophic' and the fire headquarters/command centre is just 400m down the road from our house in the Hunter Valley!! Our neighbours say that should make us feel safe, but the fire-fighters are usually away fighting fires elsewhere. They have a couple of helicopters, at least. This is my area, on this map - we live near the Fire Control Centre.

https://www.google.com/maps/@-32.774332 ... a=!3m1!1e3

We are invited out to lunch for the day tomorrow near the Lake, quite a drive from here, and I've been anxious about leaving the house. The authorities have recommended that we leave the area anyway; I am concerned about closed roads and not being able to return home in the evening.

It's the main highway, the M1 to Sydney, which is a concern as it's extremely fire prone. Please keep your fingers crossed for us that some arsonist doesn't light a fire in our area - which happens regularly when the weather is hot. Another danger is when criminals steal cars and burn them out; another regular occurrence and one likely to trigger a catastrophic fire.

We sympathize so very much with your countrymen and women in California as we are well used to the ugly face of fire in this country. Australian fire-fighters have been to your country to help out with these Californian disasters. Thanks again for your good wishes.

barney
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Re: Australian fires

Post by barney » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:22 pm

Yes, I too thank you. I live in a dead-end street that ends 50 yards away in a large native reserve, which I live, and where I walk my dogs twice a day. It is to the north west, precisely the direction from which any fire would carry embers to my house. Less than a kilometre away is a vastly bigger national park, again a distance embers can easily fly. So I worry every year. I wouldn't know whether to fight or to go, but the latter would be the sensible option. The fire authorities recommended that we don heavy clothing and gloves and headwear, such as we'd use to protect our property, and work in the garden for three or four hours on a 40-degree day (104F). If you're not fit enough for that, they say, you can't fight a fire. And I'm not.
In our Black Saturday fires of 2009, we were only saved by some truly heroic fire-fighting not far away. But right now, as I look out my window Sue, we have light rain, and I wish you did too.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:10 pm

Barney, we last had decent rain in April, 2015, while we were in Europe. Whatever showers we've had subsequently have been dried up by ensuing high winds. The ground here is crisp and dusty and our water bills horrific. Spouse is out right now removing leaves from the roof as we have to go to lunch today in Lake Macquarie - our friends organized this 2 months ago. Authorities say we should go out, but I cannot take too many valuables and dump them on our friends. And I cannot leave them to be damaged in the very hot car while we are there. Will take financial documents and hope for the best. Pictures, CDs, books, computer - nothing I can do. Neighbours are en route Sydney to join a cruise and are not concerned. Stay here and fry, go out and stress. Which one?

It's yet another example of our making plans at the least opportune time. I say to husband, "I'm playing a very successful game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey"!!

Holden Fourth
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Holden Fourth » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:02 pm

While the Greenies are claiming that this is all about climate change, they are extremely culpable in the whole scenario.

The aboriginals discovered that early back burning was a good way of minimising any fire risk. However, the Greens oppose this as they see that it might be dangerous to certain endangered species. I can't think of anything more dangerous to these species than the current fires that are currently wiping out far more wildlife than any back burn would.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:11 am

It's a war zone in some parts of NSW, including the Sydney suburb of Turramurra. Our house still standing when we arrived home from lunch. Our friends had another 'refugee' there who had left her house in fear too. This is far from over. We have all our valuables contained in suitcases and are ready to go at short notice.

I got this email from a local friend just now...."I was told that over the weekend someone got out of a car on Buchanan Drive and lit a fire. Fortunately, the three motorists travelling behind the moron got out and put it out. Fifteen years inside is too good for arsonists".

This is what we deal with.

barney
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Re: Australian fires

Post by barney » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:24 pm

Yes, it's staggering that anyone would play with people's lives and livelihoods that way, lighting fires. Yet they do. I gather they often have some sort of pathology, but in my view they are fully responsible. After all, most of us could claim to have some sort of pathology if we gave in to it. I simply can't get into the mind of an arsonist but, that said, I don't especially want to do so.

Very pleased you are still ok, Sue. They are talking of a long, hot summer, though, and another one after that and after that ... You have these catastrophic fires already, and it's only late spring.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:34 am

My cousin lives in the badly affected Forster/Tuncurry/Taree area. Her husband is a retired Detective Sergeant from the police force and he's been called in to investigate some of these fires; most, if not all, of them are believed to have been deliberately lit.

The majority of offenders who've done this will already have criminal records; the police will know who most of them are. But they're never going to feel the sanction of the law - not in Australian courts.

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Re: Australian fires

Post by Lance » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:00 pm

Think of our dear Australian friends all the time as we read about the fires. I find it hard to believe people are actually lighting fires. You are in our thoughts/prayers for your safety. Please keep us abreast of what is really going on there.
Lance G. Hill
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Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:37 pm

Thanks again for your kind thoughts!! We are bracing for the worst every single day, with no rain forecast in the forseeable future.

To date there have been 10 arrests for arson, the latest a 51 year old man!! So, most of these fires have been deliberately lit. As I said before, they can really expect few serious consequences from the law in this country.

An erstwhile Deputy PM appeared on an ABC talk show last night discussing the drought. He has a farm in north western New South Wales. He said they had lost 3 successive wheat crops but that the wheat price globally was low because the crop is going gang-busters in other countries!! And, of course, availability is a huge price indicator.

Rach3
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Rach3 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:03 pm

Prayers your way ; how awful. Hopefully the Deputy PM and his Government can get more fire protection, and military troops, to you, regardless of wheat prices !

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:28 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:03 pm
Prayers your way ; how awful. Hopefully the Deputy PM and his Government can get more fire protection, and military troops, to you, regardless of wheat prices !
The erstwhile PM is no longer in government but is now regarded as something of an elder statesman. He has quite a bit of influence in the polity and may be able to help shape our response to climate challenges. Last night he made a great deal of sense talking about how farmers had the unique ability to sequester carbon!! I was intrigued by this, but he was shut down during the conversation by people who didn't want to hear an alternative idea.

Thank you for your very good wishes. The months and months of heat drive us to distraction - not to mention damage the grape harvest for my winemaking (eldest) son.

Last night my (number 2) son in Perth, Western Australia, phoned and told about the temperatures on the sites where his company has staff (and he often flies in there himself). Example, the Pilbara (WA) and Roxby Downs (South Australia). These are Celsius temperatures and the boys (they're mostly all boys) tolerate these temps a good deal of the year as they 'de-water' mines with huge drills; these same mines are being prepared for excavation of iron ore:

44, 45, 46, 42, 43 - and so on.

My son's job is occupational health and safety, making sure 'the boys' follow all the procedures to ensure they survive those harsh conditions. This means urine testing once an hour.

Ours is a shocking climate and harsh country. But in the very top north west of Western Australia, my son tells me, just one decent shower of rain can cause the vegetation to bloom in myriad colours, quite suddenly, as if coming out of a long sleep. My son has such an interesting job, has met the most stimulating people and learned a lot about life and our country in the process.

And I've been wondering about your Decorah Eagles in the very harsh, cold weather.

Rach3
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Rach3 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:33 pm

Belle wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:28 pm
And I've been wondering about your Decorah Eagles in the very harsh, cold weather.
Thank you ! The newest eaglets are still doing well as far as known.No new eggs yet this time of year.
Egg #1: February 22, 2019 @ 10:32 PM CT
Egg #2: February 26, 2019 @ 6:44 PM CT
Egg #3: March 2, 2019 @ 7:05 PM CT
The first egg broke on March 11.
Hatch #1: April 4, 2019 @ 6:54 PM CT (D32)
Hatch #2: April 7, 2019, @ 7:19 PM CT (D33)
Fledging
D32 left the nest on June 4. He was retrieved on June 6, assessed by veterinarian and Board Member Dr. Laura Johnson, and sent to SOAR.
D33 left the nest on June 5. She was retrieved by hatchery staff the same day and sent to SOAR.
D33 has been released. SOAR is still caring for D32.

D32 is 225 days 1 hour old.
D33 is 222 days old.

SOAR: https://soarraptors.org

Much better than your wildlife for whom the fires must be an unimaginable horror.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:52 am

Thanks for this; my husband and I have followed the Decorah Eagles up until about July. I wondered about them when the TV news said there were 'Arctic temperatures' forecast for that area. What upset us both was those dreadful gnats (Buffalo flies) that drove the eaglets and their parents mad, probably part of the reason one of them fell from the nest. I'll ask our friend Richard from Duluth about these 'buffalo flies' when I see him.

We have had 2 or 3 more firebugs arrested; apparently they were clearing their own land with fire, making a break to save their own homes - unfortunately it spread, killing people and taking out lots of homes in the process.

Lots of animals have died. The Koala rescue service is frantically providing veterinary assistance to surviving animals with burnt paws, damaged windpipes, eyes and ears and singed hair. Some people do wonderful work and what a counterpoint it is to the destructive impulses of others. One of the most frightening things is removing lots of horses from farms while flames are bearing down on them.

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Re: Australian fires

Post by Lance » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:38 am

Am following this thread. While Australia is burning with fires being intentionally set, in the USA we have people shooting their guns in parking lots and schools killing innocent souls. The world seems to be going mad. Our hearts go out to you, Sue, and all the people of Australia who are dealing with this. Has this had any bearing on drinking water availability?
Lance G. Hill
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Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:40 am

Very thoughtful, thanks. Just had one put out about 1km here from our house this afternoon. Sure to have been deliberately lit. It's terrifying.

We are sorry to learn about your ongoing shootings there. What's to be done about this Lance? I refuse to believe there's no answer. I've said to my own children in times of despair "there's always a solution to a problem save terminal illness and death; it may not be the solution you want but it's a solution nevertheless". Somebody has to bite the bullet (sorry for the appalling metaphor). Get the job done!!

The broader question is why people hate each other so much that they would shoot innocent people going about their business? Has this problem a lengthy history or is it just from the last recent decades?

barney
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Re: Australian fires

Post by barney » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:43 pm

It may not always have been done with bullets, but reasonless violence has been around since Cain and Abel.

I don't think that Americans are nastier than other people, they just have access to guns. How could a 15-year-old have a gun to go shooting people with. As I've said before, most of the rest of the world, and certainly me, think US gun laws are utterly insane. It's no argument that if I have a gun I can stop someone else with a gun - the violent person is far more likely to use it first, so I'd rather he didn't have one.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:46 pm

barney wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:43 pm
It may not always have been done with bullets, but reasonless violence has been around since Cain and Abel.

I don't think that Americans are nastier than other people, they just have access to guns. How could a 15-year-old have a gun to go shooting people with. As I've said before, most of the rest of the world, and certainly me, think US gun laws are utterly insane. It's no argument that if I have a gun I can stop someone else with a gun - the violent person is far more likely to use it first, so I'd rather he didn't have one.
I don't now and never did think that Americans are nastier than other people. I've found them warm, friendly and very agreeable when I've met them abroad. They befriend easily; one couple (from Georgia) in a supermarket in Amsterdam invited us to dinner with them that evening after a 30 minute talk in the Gluten Free section. And they'll all talk about gun violence if a conversation has been going long enough.

It's a legacy issue - some of it. Years of gun violence in popular culture COMBINED with cultural narcissism and appalling parenting. But how in the world does even THAT explain the Las Vegas horror? Words fail. Jordan Peterson says these murderous types turn their resentful impulses back on society after they have brewed for a considerable time inside the perpetrators' heads. You'd see kids at school; they were so used to being punished and regarded poorly that their immediate position was to rush to the corner and they could emerge from it damaging you and anybody else in the process if you didn't watch yourself - since they have nothing else left to lose. This kind of behaviour is on the same spectrum as sociopaths who use gun violence. Ultimately, they usually destroy themselves before anybody else. Many psychologists say that the one thing these types crave is notoriety, like that Dane in Oslo who killed 75 people in 2011.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:11 am

Code red: Fire hell blows in, torching Victoria and South Australia

A mass of hot air that has torn across the country, leaving catastrophe in its wake, hit Victoria and South Australia, toppling temperature records and whipping up flames, smoke and dust with near-cyclonic winds.

Victoria was placed “in lockdown” as the state held on to its hat and endured the first “code-red” day in a decade. More than 60 fires were fanned by gale-force winds of more than 100km/h.

The hot air mass that escalated the NSW and Queensland fires and turned properties to embers in South Australia descended on Victoria on Thursday, where authorities implemented a statewide plan to avoid a disaster.

“We had to put it into total fire ban in order to minimise the risk of having major fires commence now in November and seeing campaign fires like we’ve got in NSW,” said Victorian Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville. “We locked down the state to do that.”

More than 2000 firefighters were deployed to battle the blazes.

Darrell Phillips, captain of Echuca Village Fire Brigade, was fighting a grass fire at Strathallan when the wind changed.

He had to take shelter after an ember landed in his ear.

“That wind was absolutely unbelievable and it went on and on for about 15 minutes,” Mr Phillips told The Australian.

“I knew if we lost control of the fire at that point and it broke away, we couldn’t have stopped it.”

Mildura in Victoria’s northwest was blanketed in orange dust while northwesterly winds covered Melbourne with thick haze from the state’s inland.

Sydney woke on Thursday to a pall of choking bushfire smoke that is expected to be replaced by an orange dust haze on Friday as wild winds from the west blow drought-ravaged topsoil east.

The number of NSW homes lost to bushfire hit 612 as fire crews battled 50 blazes still burning in the state. The NSW fires have claimed the lives of six people this bushfire season and more than 1000 firefighters remain in the field.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Kevin Parkyn said Melbourne experienced its ­hottest November day in more than a century, with the mercury hitting 40.9C. Laverton was the hottest town in Victoria at 44.3C.

“We had to go searching through the record books pretty hard to find a day where we recorded a temperature like that in Melbourne,” Mr Parkyn said.

“In fact 1894, so over 100 years ago. In over 30 years working at the bureau, I don’t recall a day like this.”

Despite the heat and wind in Victoria, no lives were lost and property losses were kept to a minimum.

Six emergency fire warnings were issued and two properties were destroyed as firefighters battled blazes at Strathallan, near ­Rochester.

More than 80,000 customers were left without power in parts of the state, with Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat hardest-hit, according to service provider Powercor.

The tiny fishing town of Edithburgh on the southern tip of South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula dodged a bullet, with a raging bushfire stopping just metres short of engulfing the entire town.

While 11 properties were lost and 33 people suffered minor injuries, the town, population 516, was nearly engulfed by an out-of-control blaze that started in neighbouring Yorketown on Wed­nesday, fuelled by northerly winds and 42C temperatures.

Just before sunrise on Thursday, Edithburgh residents started receiving text messages from the Country Fire Service telling them to leave their homes and head to the town jetty and beach pool, with others evacuated to the nearby coastal hamlet of Stansbury.

SANFL football legend Scott Hodges, who has a shack in ­Edithburgh, told The Australian the past 24 hours had been “totally terrifying”.

“It’s a pretty good result in the end, though, but cripes, we were lucky, the whole joint could have gone up,” he said.

THE AUSTRALIAN

barney
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Re: Australian fires

Post by barney » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:51 pm

As I read this the local fire siren is going off. But today is calm and cool. Yesterday's 41 degrees was hard to take, especially because of the blasts of the hot dry enervating northerly wind.

Rach3
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Rach3 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:46 pm


Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:37 pm

My husband is very soft-hearted and he's been outside in the water restriction hours trying to keep our trees and shrubs alive. The lizards come out and open their mouths for water when he does this, so he's put out a tub of water for the birds and wildlife. No joke, it's horrendous here. The grass is like walking on straw.

Australians have rallied and I guess they're much like Americans; very generous when the chips and down and our people need our support with money, food and household items. We think that in retirement it's time to give back to the community and we are pleased to donate as and when needed.

Rach3
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Rach3 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:55 pm


Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:56 pm

The great trap for Koalas is their diet; Eucalyptus gum trees, full of oil and highly flammable during fires!!

Rach3
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Rach3 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:44 pm

Belle wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:56 pm
The great trap for Koalas is their diet; Eucalyptus gum trees, full of oil and highly flammable during fires!!
Interesting fact,thanks.

But , appears there, as here, Koalas’ greater trap has been the evolution of humans.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Mon Nov 25, 2019 11:27 pm

Captain Cook, when he sailed down the east coast of Australia at the time Mozart was being feted in Europe, observed in his log book fires burning on our continent.

barney
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Re: Australian fires

Post by barney » Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:20 am

Sue, I see things are wildly out of control in the Hunter Valley again. Are you still at home? Have you had to flee? My sister in Sydney is finding her health quite affected by the smoke and pollution, but it must be worse where you are. Please give us an update. I hope and pray that the fires are brought under control.

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:39 am

barney wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:20 am
Sue, I see things are wildly out of control in the Hunter Valley again. Are you still at home? Have you had to flee? My sister in Sydney is finding her health quite affected by the smoke and pollution, but it must be worse where you are. Please give us an update. I hope and pray that the fires are brought under control.
I was out today at a function - in the Pokolbin vineyards. The air was acrid and thick and my spouse had to drive with headlights, as did everybody. He dropped me and then went with a friend to another venue for lunch and I phoned him because I was afraid of the worsening air. The sun had disappeared and the expected maximum temperature wasn't reached because of smoke cover. At 3.15pm it was lights on for everybody on the freeway. Sydney has been very bad indeed - it's a basin and the smoke doesn't escape. When we arrived home grey particulates filled the air so we repaired inside. I've only just opened the windows now; we have to breathe the outside air sometime, but it catches in the back of your throat. On the NSW South Coast (where we sold a home just under 3 years ago) the situation is horrific. Those little hamlets near the sea (Bawley Point, Tabourie Lake) are miles inland from the Princes Highway; there's one way in and one way out. We are looking on anxiously as we still have friends down there. Meanwhile, helicopters are moving about above our house here as the Rural Fire Headquarters are just 400m down the road. Some wonderful fire fighters from Canada and New Zealand have arrived today to lend a hand as our people are simply exhausted. I do hope our fire-fighters are honoured by the PM when this is all over.

A son from Perth phoned today and said he couldn't understand what is happening on the east coast; Perth is a hugely hot and dry climate (it was 42 there today) with limited annual rainfall and the city built on sand (the water just runs through and no much grows). He commented that, apart from one fire at Forrestdale there had been nothing. Earlier this year they were ringed with fire, though, in his suburb (Harrisdale).

Thank you very much for your kind wishes.

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Re: Australian fires

Post by Lance » Sat Dec 07, 2019 2:00 pm

The morning paper today notes that Australia's fires are going strong … over 100 fires were shown as dots on a map. We continue to be concerned about you and hope you are not in any danger.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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barney
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Re: Australian fires

Post by barney » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:07 pm

Belle wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:39 am
barney wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:20 am
Sue, I see things are wildly out of control in the Hunter Valley again. Are you still at home? Have you had to flee? My sister in Sydney is finding her health quite affected by the smoke and pollution, but it must be worse where you are. Please give us an update. I hope and pray that the fires are brought under control.
I was out today at a function - in the Pokolbin vineyards. The air was acrid and thick and my spouse had to drive with headlights, as did everybody. He dropped me and then went with a friend to another venue for lunch and I phoned him because I was afraid of the worsening air. The sun had disappeared and the expected maximum temperature wasn't reached because of smoke cover. At 3.15pm it was lights on for everybody on the freeway. Sydney has been very bad indeed - it's a basin and the smoke doesn't escape. When we arrived home grey particulates filled the air so we repaired inside. I've only just opened the windows now; we have to breathe the outside air sometime, but it catches in the back of your throat. On the NSW South Coast (where we sold a home just under 3 years ago) the situation is horrific. Those little hamlets near the sea (Bawley Point, Tabourie Lake) are miles inland from the Princes Highway; there's one way in and one way out. We are looking on anxiously as we still have friends down there. Meanwhile, helicopters are moving about above our house here as the Rural Fire Headquarters are just 400m down the road. Some wonderful fire fighters from Canada and New Zealand have arrived today to lend a hand as our people are simply exhausted. I do hope our fire-fighters are honoured by the PM when this is all over.

A son from Perth phoned today and said he couldn't understand what is happening on the east coast; Perth is a hugely hot and dry climate (it was 42 there today) with limited annual rainfall and the city built on sand (the water just runs through and no much grows). He commented that, apart from one fire at Forrestdale there had been nothing. Earlier this year they were ringed with fire, though, in his suburb (Harrisdale).

Thank you very much for your kind wishes.
Yes. Tasmania looks ever more attractive to me as Australia heats up further because I like a temperate climate. But I can't move while I am still able to get to the 50 or so concerts, operas, recitals I attend each year in Melbourne - and when I'm too frail for that I'm probably too old to move! Not to mention children and grandchildren in this town, and our large garden. But having a heatwave in October is too much (early to mid-spring here, for US readers), and January to March is predicted to be hot and hideous.
Meanwhile, Sue, it has been far worse in NSW this year, and it must test your courage. But what else can you do?

Belle
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Re: Australian fires

Post by Belle » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:22 pm

A late friend of mine lived in Hobart; he was originally from the UK and was a broadcaster on ABC-FM before retirement in 1991. They had horrendous bushfires in Hobart in 1967; 67 dead and 900 injured. And in that considerably cooler state!! My friend talked to me about the horror of that time as he and his family were living in a timber house in Mt. Nelson. He said he liked Tasmania because of the cooler climate but that the state was full of very parochial people!!

In fact, one of my friend's girlfriends appears in this (very topical) work at the back top left of the choir!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpaNo4mWRBE

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