Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Bush Fires and DLP Week 2

I created Week 2's  Documented Life Project journal page, 'Selfie' was the prompt and your word for the year whilst a bush fire was destroying my close friend and art buddy June's house.

Created using flower punch gelli prints, gold paint pen, wash tape and a photocopy of a selfie I took last June 2013.

I took a few selfies last week that I didn't like and by Thursday I had a headache and felt blah, Friday morning I woke up with a headache and the same for Saturday.  Catastrophic fire conditions were forecasted for the weekend as the temps reached 42C/108F and we only had a minimum of 30C/86F Saturday night.  Sunday morning by 9:40am we had reached 42C and then the seabreeze came in and the temps dropped slowly.

Around 11am in the neighbouring suburb to the east a fire started, it then got out of control.  I saw smoke around noon but thought it was a known fire in an area further east from here.  At 1pm my father rang and asked about us, I then checked our local fire awareness group on Facebook and showed my husband on Google maps where the fire was.  Then the penny dropped. There were houses on fire in June's street.  Tears filled my eyes as I knew that even if June's house wasn't hit by fire it would suffer water and smoke damage so I sent June a text message.

The winds were blowing to the east so I knew we would be okay unless the winds changed so I kept an eye on the FB page which was being kept up to date and I knew I had to keep busy so I created my journal page. Mid afternoon I looked out the kitchen window to the west and saw smoke. Hubby called the boys and went into stay and defend mode, I continued to make rice salad, aka keeping calm mode.  By 5pm the smoke was worse and I go into prepare to evacuate mode.

Now we are in the middle of two fires and the one to the west in the pics has smoke blowing to the north-west, there is a plane water bomber in attendance but the helitacs - helicopter water bombers - were busy with the fire to the east. I've seen a few fires along that hill horizon line in the past few years and have watched the helitacs and planes do their dance, amazing to watch them avoid each other and dip down out of sight to suck up more water and then let it all out but on Sunday they were flying over our house and rattling our windows as the headed east to a bigger fire.  By 6pm the smoke to the west had decreased and I cooked our steaks on the stove and not the barbecue.

We went to bed smelling smoke, the first time all day, so we didn't sleep well and Monday morning hubby went to work, the pump still out and the hose in our pool ready for action.  I went to a community meeting about the fire which was very interesting, most of the information is on the government websites and I learnt a few more ways to be prepared even when we are going to evacuate such as take clothes for 3-4 days as power lines get burnt down and take time to be replaced and the roads get blocked off for safety, we should really buy a generator for when the power goes out and hubby and the boys stay to defend then they can power up the fridge for food and the internet for info and keep their phones charged, pack the phone charger - I did but June left in such a hurry she forgot hers and lost charge.

June phoned last night after I had seen her on the news so I knew she and her husband were alive - her house was destroyed, it's all gone but they saved the cat.  She sounded calm as I was the one fighting back the tears - I am devastated for her.  June lost all her paintings and art supplies and her husband has lost all his framing equipment but they are safe and will buy or rebuild.  We also heard from other friends yesterday who are safe and their houses survived but their yards are charcoal.

In the fire to the east, about 50 houses were destroyed, not sure how many were damaged, 400 hectares of land were burnt, one man died up on his roof (more people die on their roof in a bushfire than in the actual fire). The local volunteer fire brigades did an awesome job, some had to watch their own houses burn down, so did  the paid fire brigade, the helitac pilots and all the professional people working to save houses and property. My heart goes out to everyone who lost their house or their animals.

Be prepared and stay safe and take care.

PS I've also been thinking and praying for the artist Wyanne who had her operation for tongue cancer overnight/today - I hope it was successful and wish her a speedy recovery.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness Michelle. Scary times... beaming heart thoughts and my prayers over to you all. C x


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