I live in North Warrandyte, and the last four hours have been kinda tense. Along with a few other residents who planned to stay and defend, I stood on a hilltop, watching the smoke and the choppers.
To the naked eye the area of the fire seemed rather far away. Even the choppers seemed tiny. One bright red one high up in the sky – that was the spotter – and two bigger ones just above treetop level, doing the actual water bombing.
I did think of racing back and grabbing a camera, but I knew any pic I took would show nothing but sky, and maybe a fly speck or two. So no pics of choppers, sorry. However I do have one picture :
Apologies, was trying to take the picture on my phone, one handed. What you’re looking at are fingers with smudges of carbon on them.
Where did the carbon come from? A dead ember, that’s where from.
I was walking back across the road from my vantage point when the wind blew something small and black past me. I had no idea what it was but my first thought was ‘spider’. I spun around and stared at it [as you do when you're scared of spiders], but it wasn’t a spider at all. It was a tiny twig of new growth, but all black, and without any leaves. I bent down to pick it up…and it disintegrated, leaving nothing but that smudge.
Nothing brought home the reality of fire as much as that burnt out ember. It must have travelled at least 2 kilometers, as the crow flies, and it could have still been live.
The authorities have now down graded the warnings for Warrandyte, thank all the gods, but there are fires in other outer Melbourne suburbs, and even more out in the country-side. Victoria is burning, and summer is nowhere near finished with us.
My thoughts are with all the families still going through the waiting and fearing. And special thoughts to those who have already lost their homes.
As always and forever, love and thanks to the firefighters who work so hard to keep us safe.