Sunday, February 08, 2009

Playing the waiting game

It's very quiet this morning - all yesterday afternoon and evening things were pretty crazy. We could hear sirens as fire and police vehicles, and I assume a few ambulances, roared along the main road. Helicopters kept flying over - I saw the police go by umpteen times, and early in the evening Elvis flew past, heading back towards Essendon airport. And of course there was the noise from the incredibly disgusting wind...

Now the wind has dropped and I can't even hear any traffic at all. It's a bit eery, actually.

The news services took a while to catch up on the fires in our local area - there was next to no coverage last night, they were all concentrating on the Bunyip state forest area, with a few mentions of Kilmore East. But the grapevine works well and I heard that things were really dire around Whittlesea, with homes lost on the outskirts and the town under threat. Then the good old ABC got a report out from tiny Kinglake, up in the hills near the national park - practically the whole town was burning.

The small grass fire that started about 500m from our house, and that the CFA seemed to have under control when we went out to see where the smoke was coming from, got away from them when the wind changed direction and spread into the bushland that adjoins our housing estate. It burnt out about 130 hectares before the 12 fire units managed to beat it. That was a bit close for comfort, but there was no damage to any houses.

This morning, the full extent of the disaster is starting to be known... 14 deaths, maybe more, homes lost....and probably more to come, since the main fires are still burning out of control.

Today, we're staying on alert. We're not in any immediate danger, but ember attacks from the Kinglake fires are a potential problem, and there's a CFA urgent threat message for the suburb immediately to the north of us. The suburb which I could walk to across the paddocks within about two minutes. So we'll be keeping our eyes open.

Let's hope the 000 emergency service copes better today - I didn't enjoy being placed in a freaking queue when I tried to call the fire brigade yesterday about the grass fire. Lucky someone else had got through earlier and the firies were already on their way. It would have been too bad if I was after an ambulance for a heart attack victim or something....


One mystery has been solved - when I drove The Middle Child to a party last night, we noticed about a dozen camper vans and caravans in the pub car park. We both commented on it. It was a bit odd.... This morning I read that the Whittlesea country music festival (yee-haw!) was on this weekend. Those guys were there for a bit of knee-slapping, and when Whittlesea was evacuated, they obviously headed to the nearest watering-hole.


ss2306 said...

Thinking of you and hoping you stay safe.

Andrea said...

Hope all is as well as it can be Kek. It's a bit scary isn't it. Just watching the news on ABC now it's just devastating.


Kathryn said...

Good to know you are safe. It must be absolutely terrifying to be in that situation.

Sara said...

OMG. Look after yourselves! I know you will but I'm entitled to worry.

I'm glad to read this update though. I've been away from the internet and the reports on the radio have been making me fret!

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