Debbies One Word Sunday: Fire
What a topic to pick Debbie!!! This is so much my life at the moment and has been for over four week. I have already posted some stories of the fires that surround me at the moment.
Some days the smoke is so thick, I cannot see more that 30 meters. Those days are spent inside. My chest is starting to hurt, my eyes are constantly sore and yesterday I had a sore throat.
The heat of the day doesn’t help either. One day last week it was 40C which isn’t usual for this time of year. Most days last week were in the low to high 30’s. The high daily temperatures combined with strong winds that seem to turn up most days makes for uncomfortable living.
Over the past two years the amount of rainfall has been a quarter of what I usually have here. This big dry has also exacerbated conditions. When there is a lack of rain, the eucalypt trees drop leaves and branches as a survival technique. The forest floor has a lot of leaves and dead wood. Normally that isn’t a problem as the high rainfall helps break down the vegetation into humus which is full of microscopic life as well as insects and worms.
The ground is dry under the leaves and is being baked by the hot sun. The UV rating today was extreme.
Together with my neighbours, we worked with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) to have a hazard reduction burn on our properties this Winter to prepare for Summer as the RFS thought that there would be a dangerous fire season this year. This Winter wasn’t the time to burn as we didn’t have many cool days and conditions weren’t right as assessed by the RFS.
The fire season is usually late November to March. The first fire to threaten our small community of properties happened early October. This post is a quick story of that Fire
An earlier fire story the month before but didn’t really affect my place.
The fires continued to burn this fire in early November started more concern for me and my property and has been continually burning since then.
Every afternoon when the westerly wind blows up I am scanning the skies for signs of smoke and as the day darkens I am on watch in case embers are blowing ahead of the fire. The fire is about 15kms away.
I have my car packed with things I want to save and other stuff is handy to grab if the call comes through to evacuate.
I do live in the bush, or forest for my overseas readers/friends, I am aware of the potential hazards. Because it has been so dry my dam I use to water the garden hasn’t filled and there is a small amount of water that I am saving in case I need it to put out small fires.
My garden only gets small amounts of water to keep some of it alive. The Bangalow palms whose fronds shade the house and keep it cool in Summer are either dead or dying. Of the 10 or so in the gardens around the house, two are still alive. The small Lilli Pilli trees are dying, other Australian native plants are struggling. Every bit of water gets recycled and used to keep plants alive.
The sky has been so eerie and the days don’t have shadows or sunlight, just a orange glow.
The only thing to release me from this awful situation is rain. So far these fires statewide have burnt over one million hectares, only 4 deaths so far thank goodness, over 350 homes burnt and thousands of out-building burnt. I have friends who have lost their homes.
As I write at 6pm Sunday, I am watching the trees sway about in the wind dropping more leaves. There has been rain in the area, mainly to the south and north, but so far not here.
I am hoping……
PS Don’t worry about me I am safe and prepared. I have been here for quite a while and have been through many fires before. I used to be the local RFS Deputy Captain and have a good knowledge of fire behaviour on my property and neighbouring properties.