Battening down the hatches – updated at 10:15pm

I just checked the weather and it’s still 36C [96.8 F]… at 10 o’clock at night. What happened to the cool change we were promised?

I know I sound like a whiny little kid but,  after a day sweltering in 41C [105.8 F ] temperatures, I’m finding it hard to be grateful for a 5 degree drop. I am, however, VERY grateful that we had no fires anywhere near us today.  I am also very grateful to the nice repairman who came out and serviced our air-con yesterday. It is struggling now, after a day of constant work, but it got us through. So thank you Amon and thank you to  whoever invented air-conditioning!

Sleep tight,

Meeks

The weather bureau has predicted a week or so of hot weather, and it seems they may be right. It was stinking hot yesterday – 37C in the city but more out here – and today is meant to be even worse, with 41C temperatures and a hot north wind to fan the flames of any bushfires that do start.

The whole state is on high alert and I’ve been doing my bit. Critical areas of the garden have been watered and now all that’s left is to start up the fire-fighting pumps to make sure they’re working properly, clear the back deck of flammable deck chairs, drop all the fire-resistant shutters and turn on the radio.

Radio, you ask? Why would that be part of any bushfire plan?

Well, it’s not just any radio station I’ll be listening to today. ABC 774 is the official bushfire warning channel and during fire season they broadcast alerts whenever they arrive. This is critical because back during Black Saturday, 774 provided the only real information that any of us had about where the fires were, and where they were headed.

To be honest, the official warnings broadcast by 774 during Black Saturday were pretty useless as the authorities had no real idea of what the fires were doing. Nonetheless 774 was invaluable because of the listeners who rang in and provided anecdotal information about what the fire was doing in their area.

I just wish someone had been listening to, and co-ordinating all this anecdotal information at the time. Perhaps then 173 people might not have died.

I’m still angry about Black Saturday, and I’m still angry about the way Nillumbik Shire Council weaseled its way out of all responsibility for their negligence. I don’t care what anyone believes, be that religion or conservationist policy, but when it comes to lives, the only deciding factor should be facts. Ignoring those facts is criminal.

I don’t want to get into a major rant here, but it’s time we accepted realities, and one of those realities is that Australia is not a gentle place. If humans want to co-exist with native flora and fauna here, we have to accept the dangers and take sensible precautions. The policies still being enforced by most local councils are not… sensible.

I doubt that anything horrible will happen today, but fire season has just begun, and this year Warrandyte [as well as the rest of Victoria] is much dryer than it was at the same time last year. By February the whole state will be a tinderbox again and we could see a repeat of Black Saturday.

If you live in a fire-prone area, and that includes all of Warrandyte,  please, PLEASE get your property as fire-proof as possible. Chest high scrub and dry grass on one property will only make the spread of the fire worse for other properties. So even if your plan is to get out early, do your maintenance first. Not only will it help your own house to survive, it may help your neighbour’s house survive as well.

Last but most definitely not least, my thoughts are with those people who are still living in the areas devastated by Black Saturday. I can only imagine the fear you must feel on days like this. I pray you remain safe.

-hugs-

Meeks

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

26 responses to “Battening down the hatches – updated at 10:15pm

  • littlemissobsessivesanatomy

    its 9 degree here during day and its killing me 😦
    sorry it so hot there…the fire thing is scary…Please be safe Meeka …!!!!

    Like

  • lorddavidprosser

    I know I don’;t have to tell you to be careful. I just hope Warrandyte took on some of the points raised after that last terrible disaster. It only seems like common sense.
    I want you safe throughout this period of hot weather and through each of the bouts you’ll have.It sounds like you’ve taken all the necessary precautions.

    Like

    • acflory

      We had a long, incredibly expensive Royal Commission, but like others in the past, nothing much actually changes.

      I’m as safe as technology can make me. That said, if fate really has it in for you then you’ll get it in the neck no matter what you do. 😉

      -hugs-

      Like

  • metan

    It is a worrying day, and probably the first of many. Good luck and stay cool. We are having a movie day and hoping my internet doesn’t drop out (as usual) leaving us in the dark. (as I try posting this comment for the third time…. 😦 )

    Like

  • kmtreat

    Will pray that all goes well and everyone stays safe.

    Like

  • candy korman

    Winter has just begun in NYC. Until the super storm Sandy (a hybrid hurricane, Nor’easter, full moon, high tide) I think I was a bit to complacent. Now, I’m on alert and am fearful on your behalf.

    Like

    • acflory

      😦 I think we’re all starting to recognize that things are changing for the worse. I’d like to think we’ll do something about it before these terrible events become commonplace. :/

      Like

      • Ilil Arbel

        The weather has changed drastically everywhere on the planet. Places with extreme weather, like Australia, suffer the worst, but even here in the mild Northeast we had Sandy. And every thinking person I know agrees that there will be more stroms like Sandy. We have no real way to prepare, though. We cannot control the ocean gulping the shore…

        Like

        • acflory

          Yeah, this is one problem where we can’t just deal with the symptoms. Attacking the root cause would help but it seems we humans have very short attention spans when it comes to ‘big picture’ issues like climate change. 😦

          Like

  • Ilil Arbel

    This is so scary, Andrea… and strange. I know the geography but it’s so hard to visualize it from a distance of such magnitude. It is freezing here and to think of you in danger of spontaneous fire is just awful. Stay safe and be careful!!!! And keep us posted!!!!!

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks Ilil. I’m sure we’re fine for now but yes, it is scary. I’ll keep you updated. Send me some snow and ice please! I hate the heat.

      Like

      • Ilil Arbel

        I wish I could send you snow and rain enough to drown the possibility of fires… I hate the heat too. Give me winter any time, but yes, please let us know how the summer is developing.

        Like

        • acflory

          I love winter. Well, the mild weather we call winter here! Winter is the time of year I get things done.

          First we had 11 years of drought that culminated in that awful bushfire. Then we had a few years of cool, wet summers. Now it seems we’re getting back to ‘normal’. Sadly that means heat and bushfires.

          Thank god the bad times only last for a couple of months a year. 🙂

          Like

          • Ilil Arbel

            Reminds me of your planet… The cycles, I mean. Just be careful. I hope the alpacas did their job, at least to some extent, with the brush?

            Like

          • acflory

            -blush- I confess, I drew on the climate and harsh environment of Australia for much of the ‘feel’ of Vokhtah. In the north of Australia [closest to the equator] they have only two seasons – the Wet and the Dry. I took those extremes and turned them into Kohoh and Tohoh. 🙂

            Like

          • Ilil Arbel

            But that is the way it should be. The more you write about what you know, the more realistic the alien surrounding, or “people” become. That is one of the reasons, I believe, why the book is so good.

            Like

          • acflory

            Thank you! My only hesitation in using the real background I know is that I didn’t want to just translate Australia into another medium. It was certainly a huge part of my inspiration though. 😀

            Like

  • Carrie Rubin

    This is new information for this Ohio woman. Interesting to read, but I surely feel for those in harm’s way.

    Like

  • geooorge

    I’m wondering when they’ll start using radio controlled drones with thermal cameras to hover and monitor the fire’s heading.

    Like

    • acflory

      The drones would have to be pretty large and robust because bushfires can generate their own localized weather they’re that powerful. Good idea though, at least on the edges of the fire.

      Like

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