Gra Nomad Wanderings

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Here we are in the middle of an Aussie summer. It’s mid January. The temps are pretty high in many parts of the country and the bushfire season is on us. There are two killers here at this time of the year – bushfires and the extremely hot weather. The good news: Fay and I are still alive.
There have been fires just north of Dubbo, the city where we live.

Here are three newspaper stories worth a quick read. The first is from our local paper, THE DAILY LIBERAL in Dubbo.

Close to control by Nick Cook
The fire burning north of Dubbo is closer to being brought under control, with firefighters continuing to strengthen containment lines and conduct extensive back-burning operations. It had burned out 23,220 hectares, as of yesterday morning, an increase of nearly 2000 hectares on the day before. "On Monday night they had a very good night, in the sense that there was a lot of construction of lines going on with the dozers and quite a bit of back-burning, which pleased me greatly," Rural Fire Service Superintendent John Jenks said. The southern edge of the fire-front, which had been the main focus of the containment effort, was almost under control."When we flew there early this morning it was pretty black, but there was no active fire there," Superintendent Jenks said. It was not all good news - there was a break out on the northern edge of the fire due to storm activity on Monday evening and a flare-up on the eastern edge yesterday afternoon because of unexpected wind from the north-east. … Superintendent Jenks predicted the fire could be under control within the next day or two. "That won't be the end of the fire, though. There's a lot of hot ground out there and it will remain hot for some time. It's going to take a lot of troops to patrol it."At this stage it's looking good, but there are still a few niggling concerns."Hopefully tomorrow will give us a clearer picture and I'll be a little more confident in saying we've got this one pretty much wrapped up."

This one is from The AGE - a Melbourne paper. Pretty bad scene.
Nightmare to worsen, says Bracks
Farrah Tomazin, State Political ReporterJanuary 18, 2007
Premier Steve Bracks has warned that Victoria is in the grip of one of the worst bushfires in its history, with 1 million hectares of land burnt over the past 48 days — and greater damage still to come.
A day after a fire in north-east Victoria cut power lines and sparked blackouts across the state, Mr Bracks yesterday warned that high temperatures and extreme conditions over the next three days could lead to further havoc.
"We are in the midst of one of the worst fires we've ever seen in Victoria's history — and that's a big statement. A very big statement when you think about (the fires of) 1939, when you think about '83 or even the 2002-2003 fires," Mr Bracks said.
"We expect these fire conditions to in fact worsen. While yesterday was a horror day … we expect the next three days will also be very bad, including Saturday, which we believe will be worse than what yesterday was."
About 1 million hectares have burnt since the bushfires began on December 1.

This story is from our old town of Cooma and mentions Bede Nichols, one of my old tennis mates. It's a good news story.
Heroic firies save family home
IN Cooma for a haircut and the groceries, Bobundara's Helen and John Rolfe didn't pay much attention when they heard the sound of fire sirens.
John continued shopping for a trickle system and Helen picked up the groceries.
Then Helen heard her name called over the Woolworths pager.
The couple's daughter-in-law had found a way to let them know an out-of-control bushfire was threatening the family home.
The couple raced back to Bobundara, convinced their house had perished in the blaze that began on Friday and has since burned 2500 hectares to the ground.
"Helen said, 'I think the house is on fire'," said Mr Rolfe.
"We were quite convinced the further we came that the house was burnt.
"We got to within a kilometre of here and the police stopped us and said we couldn't go any further.
"I said, 'is it burnt?', they said, 'I really don't know'."
The couple were allowed to follow fire fighters onto their property.
The house was still there, but only just.
Flames had risen up a massive windbreak of pine trees and had completely obliterated the rose garden.
"The fire virtually burnt right around the house," said Mr Rolfe.
A team of fire fighters headed off the blaze from different directions.
The Rolfes said they were extremely grateful to their family, friends and neighbours for looking out for them and to the fire fighters who saved their home.
"They just kept beating it back," said Mr Rolfe.
"It was heroic, there's no doubt about it.
"They were just about to run out of water, then Bede Nichols from the Cooma brigade turned up with a tank of water.
"We feel so grateful for the people that helped us, they were just magnificent."
Fire Control Officer Barry Aitchison said he didn't know how fire fighters had managed to save the house.
"It took a lot of hard work and a bit of luck," he said.
"The fire fighters did an amazing job to save two woolsheds and a house."
"The effort put in by fire fighters, land holders, dozer operators and the work done by National Parks and Wildlife crews ... was really magic stuff."
Paramedics tended to three fire fighters who had fire material in their eyes and needed treatment for smoke inhalation.
The fire was contained by Friday evening.
By then, 300 head of sheep and 30km of fencing had perished in the blaze.
Mr Aitchison confirmed lightning was not responsible for the blaze.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

And here are a few snippets from various papers... and a website at the bottom:

Residents of Archerton, Toombullup and Tolmie remained on high alert on Wednesday night, following the loss of five homes, 20 sheds and 70 livestock in the 27,000-hectare Tatong blaze this week.

Fire crews raced to complete extensive backburning in Victoria's north-east ahead of a scorching weekend and looming thunderstorms.

The mercury is predicted to nudge 40 degrees celsius at the weekend, with possible thunderstorms.

Meanwhile, more than 700 tourists have been evacuated from the popular resort town of Thredbo. (We used to live in Cooma, not too far from Thredbo).

A blaze ignited by a lightning strike about 40km south-east of Corryong (in Victoria) is expected to cross the border and rip through the ski village within 24 hours.

Did you know that bushfires are actually naturally stored solar energy that is out of control? That's because trees convert all that sunlight into oils that get stored in leaves that end up burning like petrol.

Nature of BushFiresClearlyExplained.Com
Technology and BushfiresControlling/preventingClearlyExplained.Com

I hope this has been a worthwhile post for you.



At 3:08 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Keasty ~ I have been a bad blog friend! I'm sorry for not getting over here in soooo long. I'm glad to hear you and Fay are surviving the Australian summer heat. Looks like ya'll have been having a great time since I last checked! :)

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Keasty said...

It's always great when Jen gets to drop by. Even though she lives so far away in Dayton, Ohio, I still feel pretty close to her and it was sure great to catch up with her last year.

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Treedoc said...

Hi Gra and Fay. Are you back in Dubbo? Couldn't work out from the blog if you are still on the coast. Had 18mm of rain on Tuesday evening 16/1/07. Strange thunderstorm from the east. We don't normally get rain from that direction. Very patchy however. I believe West Dubbo got very little. 40mm over the northern section of the Goonoo fire. Hope to catch up soon. God bless Brian & Sharon.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger julie said...

Interesting. I knew nothing about bushfires; now I know a little.
Glad you and Faye are OK!


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