Sunday, January 19, 2003

Canberra Burns

Thankyou for all of the phone calls and messages of concern; I'm lucky enough to live in the inner south and the fires didn't reach here yesterday. Luckily the temperature dropped and the winds calmed overnight, but that'll be small consolation for the people who lived in the 400 or so houses that were lost. The BOM is also forecasting conditions to get worse before they get any better too.

ABC radio is broadcasting news updates continuously and another news story on the Canberra fires can be read here.

A map showing the geography of the ACT can be found here. Suburban maps can be found here.

Yesterday afternoon I was at a pirate birthday party at Griffith and it was very disconcerting watching the sky turn grey, yellow and orange and watching the sun turn red when it wasn't obscured. (See Row's write-up for some truely scary pictures.) Ashen leaves fell miles away from where the fires were burning. In the yellow light trees and power-poles glowed - it was pretty freaky. Oblivious to how bad things were actually getting, we did cancel the pirate treasure hunt but we did walk from Griffith into Kingston all dressed up. The streets were dead. Green Square was dead. T-bone (dressed up in a monk outfit; he was the ships chaplain) had a sword fight with some of the ACT Brumbies and won.

Last night I went to another birthday party in Barton; a lot of people bailed out understandably, but one guy who showed was from Duffy & he got out when the petrol station near his place went up. The poor guy had his car in the shop & so had to wave down a passer-by to get a lift out. I don't know if he's lost his place yet; he left with his camera & some photos. Must've been feeling quite helpless being at the party while the suburb burnt, but I guess there wasn't much else he could've done. I went home just past 2am and didn't sleep well; I had a nightmare where I was at work and doing fire related stuff and then I turn around & look out the window and the fire is coming up the hill. I know it's a cliche, but I actually woke with a yell, sweaty and shaking.

I talked to Helen this morning. She's not long moved down from Brisbane and wasn't entirely happy with the move, so I guess this'll be the deciding factor in moving back to Brisbane ASAP. I was very relieved to hear that she was ok. She had to stay up all night hosing the house down. She told me that she wanted to get out, but then realised that if her house went up then the whole suburb would go, so she stayed and did what she could. She's getting some rest now before the winds change back again & the fire risk goes up again this afternoon.

One guy I've never met, yet I'm feeling pretty bad for, is Marco of Canblog fame. He was moving to Bonython from Sydney this weekend; I don't know if that suburb was burnt but it's down Tuggeranong way & that whole area was affected. Hope things are ok dude.

To keep up with the fires keep refreshing the ABC News site and CSIRO's Sentinel system.

Posted by Dean @ 1/19/2003 12:38:00 pm

...Survey says...


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