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!
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.