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Fires near me




Like most people living near native forests we have been kept on our toes this summer wondering if the horrible widespread fires will reach our homes.  Fortunately, the nearest I have actually been to the fires thus far is sitting in the Katoomba Library watching the billow of smoke rising from the Ruined Castle fire.

For me there have been surprises.

1. How a tiny fire many miles away can creep (or speed) in closer and closer. Take this one for instance I would never have thought a fire as far away as Palmers Oakey would end up at Brogans Creek and within the 10km zone for Clandulla.  


2. Becoming obsessed with the Fires Near Me app, checking regularly to see if any of our properties are at risk. Here is how things currently look in the mountains.  Again there are now fires within a 10 km radius of our home in Lawson but the weather is being nice this week giving the firefighters a chance to manage things.


3. Checking the Weather App to see what direction the wind is coming from and how fast it is blowing.  I never much bother about the wind but a big southerly wind on a hot day could start pushing these fires our way quickly.

4. Learning about the cleanup that has to follow a fire. On the Castlereigh Highway, which we use to move between our homes, they have been cutting down unsafe trees and mulching - it's a very big job.  When we went through last week farmers were beginning to rebuild their fences and for those who lost their homesteads and stock it will take much longer.


5. The huge coordinated effort involved to bring under control such big fires in drought dry countryside - firefighters, dozer drivers, heavy plant operators, helicopter and fixed wing pilots, logistics managers, caterers and more.  We are so thankful for the dedicated and brave people who have done this.

6. Many of the towns that have been burnt are small towns like ours. When I think of our little town and how devastating it would be if half of the homes and businesses were wiped out.  And how hard it would be to rebuild homes and the community again. My heart goes out to all those small towns and their long road to recovery.

7.  The amount of smoke haze and how long it is hanging about.  I have a cough from the smoke but doing OK, others have it worse. Last week Mount Bocoble made a rare appearance (yeh I now know its name since I found it on the Fires Near Me app)  And there are clouds in the sky too so we are hoping and praying for some rain this week.



Summer is not over but right now there is respite in these parts.  I hope things are doing OK where you are.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your part of Australia and I am glad you are safe and hope you remain safe. The fires are devastating in my part of Australia too and we are all affected in one way or another but luckily we have been ok here in the suburbs of Adelaide although the smoke is hanging around but we have friends who have still got their homes but their property is damaged. Nature will heal the bush but the animals are the victims and it is just so sad to see.

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    1. Hi Rosie, thanks for the update on your part of the country.

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  2. Yes we used Fires near Me app when we were watching the South Coast Fires near our holiday rental. It's a fabulous app. Gosh fires only 10 k away from your properties, that must be a bit scary. Our daughter and SIL, who you met in Leura, are devastated with what has happened to their beloved Blue Mountains.

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    1. I too have been very impressed with the Fires Near Me app. It's a shame it doesn't cover all of the country. 10K is actually quite a distance away unless the winds are unfavourable.

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  3. Hope you're ok Joan. Smoke not too bad on the coast lately but things can change very quickly as we all know now.

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    1. We are doing fine. Both at Lawson and Kandos the amount of smoke has depended on the direction of the wind from big fires and whether there is back burning happening.

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  4. The smoke has been bad, at times, in Winmalee, especially when the fire was in the Grose Valley, but otherwise we have not fared too badly, certainly better than other parts of the State. Glad you found out the name of the Mountain. The back of our property overlooks a valley, but I have never been able to find out its' name, or even if it has one!

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    1. I thought of you at Winmalee, knowing you would have been watching the progress of that Grose Valley fire. I have a hard enough time knowing the names of the big valleys without hoping to know the names of the little ones.

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  5. Yes I was checking out the local RFS current fires site regularly during our fires a few months ago. Our fire season starts early...in August I think. There were fires not too far away but thankfully the winds behaved and they didn't do the damage like in Victoria and NSW. One day the wind was terrifying though. It looks like we might get some rain this week and it did drizzle overnight but at least here in Toowoomba it won't be over 30C this week for a change. I might even be able to walk around the garden without getting burnt.

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    1. The fire season moves from North to South - this year starting early and leaving a bigger than usual path of destruction. Here's hoping that rain arrives as forecast this week.

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  6. Glad you are well and safe, but fire 10km away would be very scary.
    It's so sad to see whole small towns wiped out!

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    1. Unlike the towns along the coast, living in the mountains we are somewhat used to bushfires (the RFS website says we live in one of the most bush fire prone areas in the world) but this year was a big one. With technology improvements over the years we are now really well informed and guided - smartphone app, text messages and advice on when to evacuate, regular facebook updates, community meetings (videoed for later viewing), newsletters etc.

      The most tense moment was late one night before Christmas when we got a text message warning of possible ember attack at Clandulla but we don't live there (just a shed) and we had done all we could to prepare the property so I took my husband's advice and went to sleep. In the morning we were pleased to find the embers hadn't reached that far though the fire had moved closer.

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  7. That's what staggers me is the enormous clean up after the fires have gone through! So much time and effort by (now) worn out folk.
    Glad all is well with you Joan.
    The same for us in our part of east gippsland pretty much now too. There's a 15 ha peat fire which continues to burn and they've called in an expert for advice. Its not a threat, just a lot of hazardous smoke which can't be helping those who are working on it.

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    1. I am glad your are fine too Sue.

      I have never seen the cleanup until these fires. They have been working for weeks along the Castlereigh Highway and it is such a tiny part of the road networks throughout Australia that will have to be attended to. I understand peat fires can be very difficult to put out.

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