I don’t think it will surprise any of you to know I’m paranoid about bushfire. What you may not know is that even I can be surprised. In a bad way.
The link below will take you to a very well thought out, well researched document about the extreme bushfire danger threatening not just the Warrandyte area, but also the far more built up suburbs to the west and north of Warrandyte. I’m talking Eltham, Research, Diamond Creek etc.
The reason these areas are in such danger was illustrated not long ago when an out of control grass fire threatened new housing estates in Epping, a northern suburb of Melbourne. Epping and surrounding areas are poorly serviced by through roads. When the bushfire alerts went out, the roads leading away from the path of the fire became gridlocked. Not only could residents not evacuate safely, the fire services were having trouble getting to the fire. It was a disaster waiting to happen.
In my area, the danger is complicated by the fact that the Yarra River literally cuts us off from the suburbs to the south, and there are just two narrow bridges crossing the river. One bridge chokes the north-south exit from Eltham, while the other is 13 kms to the east at Warrandyte. My bridge chokes the east-west exit.
As I live in Warrandyte, I have known about the danger posed by that east-west bridge for years, but it was not until I read the Eltham Gateway document that I realised we were pincered between two bridges and the river. Have a close look at the CFA map if you don’t believe me.
The worst fires always come from the northwest. That means people have to evacuate to the south. But the river is in the way. Can you imagine the chaos, and loss of life, if a bushfire like Black Saturday forced us to flee across either of those bridges?
I can, and the image of mangled, burnt out cars lining the roads to these bridges scares me to death.
Even if you think you know all about the possible dangers, please, PLEASE read this document. It is quite long but worth reading, especially for those who plan to evacuate in case of danger. Leaving at the last minute may not be possible, and even leaving early-ish may be more dangerous than you know.