Today-We had a visit from Hell

Warning:

The content in this Hub is of a serious nature and may be disturbing to some readers!

Fire raging at Bunyip State Forest

Graphic photo taken by Andrew Brownbill of AAP of the Bushfire at Bunyip
Graphic photo taken by Andrew Brownbill of AAP of the Bushfire at Bunyip

Victoria is under Siege

Today the 07 day of February 2009 will go down in Victoria's history as a day of infamy.

Victoria is under siege as nine, and increasing seeming by the minute, major wildfires burnt out of control on Saturday, destroying homes and critically injuring at least one person. ( This number will definitely increase) As Melbourne recorded its hottest day ever and strong winds fanned flames, the Country Fire Authority (CFA)reported at least 80 homes, a golf club and a fire truck were destroyed.

Local Radio Station ABC 774 are broadcasting not stop with emergency and help, there are also streaming if you want updates.

If you would like to check condition our Bureau of Meteorology radar is available as a loop.

Scary isn't it?

Brave fire fighters at the fire front Photo by Andrew Brownbill AAP
Brave fire fighters at the fire front Photo by Andrew Brownbill AAP

Close to home

Thousands of firefighters and residents battled major fronts at Horsham, Coleraine, Weerite, Kilmore East, Bunyip, Churchill, Dargo, Murrindindi and Redesdale in all corners of the scorched state as the searing heat and high winds exceeded authorities' predictions of the worst fire conditions in the state's history "It is pretty well every part of the state except the far northwest," Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Haynes said.

A 2500 hectare fire at Horsham was the largest in the state, while another at the Bunyip State Park reached 2400 hectares, and one at Kilmore burned 2000 hectares.

A fire at King Lake was not even in this report . The Churchill fire in Gippsland was bearing down on coastal towns including Yarram, Langsbrough and Manns Beach. Mr Haynes said it would be about midnight, after a cool change had swept across the state, before fire fighters knew whether they had got on top of the blazes. "Our guys have been flat out trying to fight the fires and trying to pin them down a bit," Mr Haynes said. "The fire weather this morning and last night, in all of the figures, was extreme and off the scale." By 6pm, at least one house was destroyed at Coleraine in Victoria's west, three homes and the town's golf club at Horsham; in Melbourne's southeast three homes were destroyed at Lyndbrook; this is only about 5 km from my property , and we have been surrounded by smoke all day today.

North of Melbourne six houses were destroyed at Wandong

I want to get this published, we have been warned we will probably lose power as the main power line to Melbourne is under threat.

It is very hot

Saturday's top temperature in the city of 46.4 degrees Celsius smashed the previous record of 45.6C set on January 13, 1939 - known as Black Friday. Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Stuart Coombs said the highest recording was at Avalon, southwest of Melbourne which topped 47.9C at 2.50pm.

My old thermometer just held out and registered 49 C.

Just to give you an idea how hot that is : 45C = 116F (approx)

Updates

10 pm 07.02.09

For any information contact The Red Cross 1800 727 077

Police have just confirmed that 14 people have been killed around Victoria, and they expect the number to increase .

There has been wind change earlier but instead of helping the situation it has just create more and longer fronts.

Midnight

11 major Firefronts and many smaller fires are burning out of control.

at least 100 properies have been reported destroyed so far.

Noon Sunday 08.02.09

Police have made the grim announcement that 26 people are confirmed dead and they expect the toll to rise. Some areas are still too dangerous to inspect!

Fires are burning out of control on 11 fronts and some fronts are expected to join later today.

Defence Force personal and resources are being deployed where possible.

One fire alone has burnt out an area of 120 thousand hectares.

Bob Brown the leader of the Green Party has made in my opinion an inappropriate comment blaming climate change. (more to come on that).

1 PM Sunday 08.02.09

Now confirmed that 35 people have lost their lives in this fire storm.

The little township of Marysville, north Melbourne has been razed.

7 pm Sunday 08.02.09

Tonight I sit here unashamedly with tears running down my face.

I have just watched the latest report on the bushfires. The report shows the breadth and utter devastation the fires have caused.

It has confirmed that the fires will now go down in history as the worst in Victoria's History.

The confirmed loss of life is 66 deaths and still expected to rise.

800+ homes have been destroyed.

The Main fire is burning on 100+ km front.

The Federal Government has announced that through "Centrelink" by tomorrow morning emergency funds will be available to people in need of funds.

11 am Monday 09.02.09

The tears are still flowing and the news is no better this morning, it has been confirmed that there are now 108 fellow Victorians have died as a result of the fires. I am in dread as very few names have been released and I know many people in the fire ravaged areas.

Our "Hell Weekend" has now reached the infamy of being not only Victoria's but Australia's worst natural disaster.

Among the deceased are Brian Naylor and his wife Morie, Brian was a muched loved and respected News reader on our major TV stations until he retired.

There are still 12 fires burning out of control and another 26 blazes being attended by over 3000 firefighters.

The Federal Government has kicked off a relief fund and many overseas Government are also committing much needed funds.

I believe at this stage all of our major banks are opening accounts to receive donations for people in need . Some only have the clothes they are wearing.

Our major banks are

  • COMMONWEALTH

  • ANZ

  • NATIONAL

  • WESTPAC

all donations received will I'm sure go in full to the relief of those in need.

3 pm Monday 09.02.09

More of my fellow Victrorians have lost their lives, there are now officially 126 that have been killed in this fire disaster.

Not enough thanks can be given to our firefighters, most who are volunteers and most distressingly there has been some who have lost family members and their homes while fighting this brute of a fire.

New Zealand has announced they are sending about 100 fire fighters to help with the fires. A heartfelt thankyou TOF from all of us to NZ.

NSW are also sending up to 300 firefighters, even though they have there own fire fighting problems.

We have been preoccupied with our fires but ironically our Norhern state Queensland is experiencing flooding over the last week. A number of people have drowned and it is believed that a young boy has been taken by a crocodile. Yes folks I kid you not, this is true!!!!

10am Tuesday 10.02.09

I'm sorry to burden you with further bad news but it has unfortunately been announced that there are now 173 people confirmed dead.

Conditions have eased and firefighters are working furiously to contain many fires. It is feared that conditions will worsen towards the end of the week.

Federal Government was suspended yesterday and all Flags are flying at half mast.

The Victorian Premier Mr.Brumby announced that a Royal Commission is to be set up to investigate our "Hell Weekend", and the system of compulsary evacuation will be fully looked into.

5pm Tuesday 10.02.09

Thank God there has been no addition to the death toll , but we are still expecting the worst, as there are lot have houses that are still inaccessible.

The Federal Government have announced that there is no cap on the money to be made available.

Our Chief Commissioner of Police Christine Nixon who is retiring in April wil take retirement early and has been appointed to lead a Building Recovery Unit.

Our Premier has created a Police Task Force (Phoenix) of up to 100 members to carry out investigation to catch the arsonists responsible for these horrific fires.

There has been a large number of firefighters brought in from South Australia.

I have just heard a report that up till now 350 thousand hectares have been ravaged by fire. In my calculations thats about 15% of our state. One fire alone has a front of 150km.

11pm Tuesday 10.02.09

I'm sorry to report that the death toll has now risen to 181.

So far 900 homes have been destroyed.

7000 survivors are registered with the Red Cross.

11am Wednesday 11.02.09

I think that the authorities are not telling us the whole story as far as casualties are concerned. Some estimates are as high as 300.

The houses lost have now reached the staggering figure of 1008.

One township of 500 population has reportedly lost 100 of their residents, I just can't comprehend the magnitude of this catastrophe.

Overnight is has been reported that 2 acts of arson where performed by 2? men? near Stanley already suffering from the fires.

It is feared that with the winds that are freshening to 25-30 kph there is a possibilities of a convergance of separate fires.

It is nice to share

David Tree shares his bottle with Sam
David Tree shares his bottle with Sam
Sam is now safe and well
Sam is now safe and well

   8pm Wednesday 11/02.2009

I'll give you some cheering news tonight.

Some images have been seen around the world of a little Koala nicknamed Sam sharing a bottle of water with CFA member David Tree.

David said that he could see from his truck that Sam was in trouble so he pulled over and she just 'plonked' herself down as if to say "I'm beat"

David offered her a drink and she drank 3 bottles of water.

David said "The most amazing part was when she grabbed my hand, I will never forget that"

Well the good news is that little Sam is actually a female Koala had burns to her paws and was in a lot of pan. Sam is now being cared for in the "Mountain Ash Wildlife Sanctuary" is on the road to recovery and is expected to be released back into the wild in about 5 months.

Apparently she is being well looked after by a male Koala in the Sanctuary.

And you thought it was a set up?

Sam and the boys kick back! A cartoon from Mark Knight of the Herald-Sun Newspaper
Sam and the boys kick back! A cartoon from Mark Knight of the Herald-Sun Newspaper

11 am Thursday 12.02.2009

Thank God there is no further reports of death.

Overnight and this morning with the help of the Australian Army and many private individuals a bare earth fire break was created at least 125 km long to protect assets and Melbournes main water supply.

It has just been reported on the radio that Victorian Police detectives are "interviewing " two people in regards to the fires!

2 pm Thursday 12.02.2009

There has been a respite in the intensity of the fires and Firefighters are using the time to create firebreaks in time for expected heat and wind increases in the next few days.

The Australian cricket team made a very welcome visit to the bushfire victims yesterday and they lifted spirits as they mingled with the kids.

10 am Friday 13.02.2009

Today will not be a good day, the beautiful little township of Healsville has been under threat of fire all night and the fire is now only 1 km away from the township. Healesville is the birth place of my beautiful wife.

There is still 14 wildfires burning out of control.

Winds are freshening from the east.

Australian Defence Forces and all available forces are now being thrown at this fire.

There are now over 1800 homes confirmed destroyed.

The day to day running of the Victorian Government has come to a standstill due to the enormity of this devastation.

Fire fighting experts are being brought in from New Zealand, Canada and America to advise on the fires.

4pm Friday 13.02.2009

The winds have changed to the East and are driving the smoke over the city of Melbourne . The fires are now being driven in a westerly direction.

The fire threatening Healseville has been averted from the town by a slight wind change and a lot of hard work.

There are still 15 fires out of control.

A suspect has been taken into custody and is being interviewed by Police, he is expected to be charged sometime today.

Two other deliberately lite fires were started late yesterday and overnight in the suburbs of Melbourne. The fires were extinguished with no major losses.

9pm Friday 13.02.2009

A man I believe to be in his thirties appeared in court this afternoon and charged in relation to the Churchill-Jeeralang bushfire in eastern Victoria.

Twenty-one people are confirmed to have died in that bushfire on Saturday.

The court has heard that the man may need to be protected from other prisoners. Assistant Police Commissioner Dannye Maloney says the man has been moved to Melbourne due to security concerns.

"People are pointing fingers, people are jumping to conclusions, rumours and innuendos are ebbing... we do not need that," he said.

"Let Victoria Police do its role, we identified this person, we are prosecuting this person on behalf of the community."

The man, who can not be named, has been charged with "one count of arson causing death", "one count of deliberately lighting a bushfire", and "one count of possessing child pornography".The man did not attend the brief hearing at the Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court this afternoon.

Magistrate Clive Allsop ordered that he undergo a psychiatric assessment.

There was no application for bail, and the man will appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday.

As I post this last update for the night the wind is blowing a gale outside and I am not looking forward to the news in the morning.

A much needed break

CFA volunteers taking a much needed break
CFA volunteers taking a much needed break

10am Saturday  14.02.2009

Today has begun as a day of relative calm, just another typical summer day in Melbourne.

And then I tuned into the radio and realised that it was not a bad dream. The last week had been reality.  Oh how I wish it had just been a nightmare in my own head!

The good news if you can call it good is that mother nature is being kind to Victoria today and it will be a day of containment.

The current state of the fires are that there are still 12 fires burning out of control and work is progressing to contain these fires with a massive front of an estimated 350km.  There are 15 fires burning which have been contained and work is proceeding to bring them under control. There are a further 84 fires which are classed as under control.

Just a short note that there is another breed of scum which has crawled out from under the rocks where they live. That is the "looter" I just hope that this scum is not uniquely Australian. But be warned if there are any "looters" reading this or you know one, here is a message for you.

" You are being watched, you will be caught , there are angry people just waiting to take their anger out on something. If there is anything left of you, you will be handed over to the police for them to deal with you"

The survivors of Marysville will be shown what is left (very little) of their once very picturesque township. They will not be allowed off the buses as the whole township is a crime scene as it is believed the fire was deliberately lit.  

    

10pm Sunday 15.02.2009

The day had been going well until about 5pm and a Fire has broken out in the Dandenong Ranges near Belgrave,being fanned by a brisk South Easterly.

At the moment there are 8 Fires still "going" , 17 "contained" and 90 "controlled"

It was revealed today that the Fire which killed a number of people in the horrific fires last week could have been started by a broken power line, and a Class action has already been commenced against the Power Company and the Victorian State Government.

10pm Monday 16.02.2009

Another eight people are confirmed to have died in the fires, taking the known toll to 189.

Firefighters are still trying to contain fires around Melbourne's water catchments, but at this stage no communities are being threatened.

Largest fire is still not contained and has burnt out nearly 150,000 Hectares.

The 2nd largest fire is now classified as contained.

There are still 6 fires regarded as "going" (uncontained)

The victims of Victoria's bushfires will be remembered at a memorial service in Melbourne next Sunday on what has been declared a "National Day of Mourning". Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says February 7 will be etched in the country's memory as a day of disaster, death and mourning.

People will also get the chance to recognise the work of firefighters.

10pm Tuesday 17.02.2009

Police today announced that the number of people confirmed dead in Victoria's bushfires has climbed to 200.

Firefighters seem to be finally winning the battle , but there is still no rain in the immediate outlook.

State of fires tonight:-

GOING 5
CONTAINED 18
CONTROLLED 86

It is ironic that in the state of Queensland an estimated 62% of the state is flooded due to rainfall and our next state NSW last night received the amount of Rainfall the Melbourne averages in 1 Year!

Just when I thought the news was getting better , it has been announced on the news that a Firefighter has been killed tonight while fighting the fires.

At the moment no further details are available.

10pm Thursday 19.02.2009

The official Bushfire death toll has now reached 208. Thankfully Police  are hopeful that the toll will not increase.

The state of the fires tonight is:
GOING 5
CONTAINED 16
CONTROLLED 89

It has just been announced that the fire has broken containment lines:-

An Urgent Threat Message has been broadcast as at 6.45 pm Thursday 19 February 2009.
The fire in the Mount Riddell sector east of Healesville has spotted over containment lines and is actively burning south of Narbethong in the Dom Dom area. The communities of the Narbethong area may be directly impacted upon by this fire, and have been told to activate their fire plan.
The Government has announced that they will provide funding for businesses in the fire zones who provided supplies to the victims.


Unprecedented SMS Message sent by the Victorian Police to all Mobile Phones.
Unprecedented SMS Message sent by the Victorian Police to all Mobile Phones.

Update Monday 10pm 2nd March 2009

With the fire situation not improving and is still in the situation:-

  • GOING 4
  • CONTAINED 7
  • CONTROLLED 94
  • The fires that are burning have now a perimiter of over 1000 kilometres. and have burnt out over 400000hectares.

With the weather forecast and modelling showing worse conditions than what has now become Black Saturday, the position for Tuesday and Wednesday could develop into a nightmare.
This is what we can expect tomorrow:-

'WIND up to 150km/h threatens to turn Victoria into an inferno just weeks after the state's worst bushfire disaster.

Gale-force wind is forecast to howl from tonight with the mercury tipped to hit the high-30s tomorrow.

It is feared that firebombing aircraft will be grounded due to the strong winds,and the 5000 ground crew will not be able to cope with the fires spotting up to 10-12 km.

"It's going to be a terrible, terrible day," Premier John Brumby said.'

In unprecedented moves the government:-

  • Sent SMS Messages to all Mobile phones (see photo)
  • Closed over 200 schools.
  • Warned residents to activate fire plans and evacuate tonight if in the fire path.
  • Fire Index which peeks at 100 (where 50 is regarded as extreme) has now gone through the roof, and is now showing as 200-300.

If the Authorities plan is to put a scare into everyone the plan is working very well. It is scaring the crap out of me!

Hopefully I will be able to tell you Tuesday night that nothing bad has happened!

show route and directions
A markerbunyip -
Bunyip VIC 3815, Australia
[get directions]

B markerbunyip+state+forest -
Forest Rd, VIC 3783, Australia
[get directions]

Where the fires are and my place
Where the fires are and my place

Would You Stay And Fight

My question is:- Would you stay to protect your house in a Wildfire?

See results without voting

Comments 217 comments

Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

Good luck agvulpes - it sounds awful - just saw it on the news here in Perth where it was only 26C today - go figure! I hear we are going to get up to 40 next week - so hopefully we will take the heat off you.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

My thoughts are with you. Last year, we had some pretty bad fires around the area in Florida where I live. It is pretty scary. Strangely enough, one of the towns hit by the fires was Melbourne, FL!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Ag

This sounds like a nightmare. I hope you are bearing up ok. Do you have air conditioning?


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Lissie and Anna Marie Bowman, thanks very much for you caring words.

I do not want to sensationalise this but it is hard not to as it state wide.


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

Hi AG,

This is indeed tragic.

Latest reports are saying that up to 40 people are feared dead.

I was living in Victoria during the Ash Wednesday fires many years ago, and it was horrific. I recall the smoke, embers, and ash in the air, and the ferocious hot winds.

I hope the the conditions moderate overnight, and that the brave firefighters can get this under control.

And if anyone lit these fires - then I hope a special place in hell is reserved for them

Eric G.

 


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Greetings - we get these temperatures regularly here in the Gulf, but because it's desert there's nothing to catch fire!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day Eric, I do very well remember the Ash Wednesday fires, and the fire fighters I have heard interviewed today say the conditions today are worse.

We are fortunate these days to have much better coordination of services and have the services of I think about 5 Air Cranes and many helicopters.

We are also grateful that other states are sending firefighters to help.


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

I have only just heard the news. It's so sudden and so incredible, what a sad day.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Paraglider

Yes when you grow up with it and it is constant you aquire a tolerance and the countryside adjusts to suit.

But here we have conditions that allows the undergrowth to flourish and when it dries out with the extreme temperatures it leads to disaster.

In my younger days I have fought (and it is a fight) bushfires and the trees and undergrowth virtually explode !


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Louise , thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment . It is a very sad day but I believe we have not heard the worst.

Unfortunately I fear that Eric is right with his comment I'm just praying he is wrong.

It was not really sudden this was foreseen and predicted it would have been far worse if had struck suddenly.


Hovalis profile image

Hovalis 7 years ago from Australia

I hope that you and yours are safe, and that the bushfire service manage to get the fires under control soon. My thoughts are with you all.

I'm watching the reports on the news right now.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks Hovalis, fortunately my family and myself are nowhere near danger, the closest fires although in our Council are at least 5km away.

Our premier Mr Brumby is now on the radio from Bendigo and he sounds very down, you can hear him on 774 and streaming or Radio Australia.

I've put I link up top for anyone who wants to follow the news.


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

Good to know you and your family are nowhere near by. I had no idea this was going on today until I saw the news tonight. Btw where's the link?


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Sorry Louise the links are now up on the top paragraph "victoria under siege"

Where are you located?


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Thinking of you all - sounds very frightening indeed.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Ag, I'm hoping that the morning has brought some respite for you all. And to think we've been moaning about a little bit of snow!


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

Hope all is well Ag, I know when we get our fires now much more frequently here in CA, its awful, can't breathe, the heat, worrying about the kids, and the animals left to fend for themselves. sucks.


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

Caught up on the news this morning. It is catastrophic and sounds like today will not be any better in some parts.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

London Girl, Amanda, thanks just thinking about snow makes things seem cooler.

This morning Sunday noon, is much more comfortable heat wise. But unfortunately the fires are not under control on 10 fronts.

With the cool change last night we had dry Thunderstorms and new fires starting up anywhere that lightning struck.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day goldentoad, thanks for dropping a comment.

I've seen some footage of your CA fires and they sure look horrific. I think you use the same Sky Cranes (Elvis, Delilah and co.) that we are using, I'd like to have the franchise on those babies. LOL.

You have to feel for the animals, we do have follow up people here, both pro and volunteer that care for needy animals.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Lbdesign, the news is not getting any better here in Victoria, now 35 poor unfortunate persons.

I have been preoccupied with what's happening in Victoria it looks like NSW is going to get it today.

And to think there are idiots out there lighting these fires.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I have family in 3 districts the fires are in. I hope our brave fire fighters can hold these fires. Last count 65 dead.At 6pm an 700 homes gone.

I am still trying to contact family members at 7pm.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Earnest, thanks for taking the time to let us know your news.

I'm sure everyone on Hubpages joins with me in wishing you the best in finding your family.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thank you agvulpes, no news I hope is good news.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Hope that you guys are all OK.

We had bad fires a couple of years ago, so we know how you feel. TV reports do not do the flames justice - it is only when you have been up close and personal that you realise how big and devastating these fires are.

Our thoughts are with you all.

Hope that you manage to contact your family, Earnest.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thanks for the kind thoughts sufidreamer, I have managed to find one of them and hope to have contact tonight through the red cross.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Sufidreamer, thanks mate, you are so right. You can watch the fires on TV, but until you experience them first hand, the sheer power, energy and speed that the fire travels.

In all its power it is unstoppable. Fire seems to be like a yacht, it can actually travel faster than the wind, it will create it's own updraught. Reports yesterday say that the fire was spotting up to five Km ahead of itself with ember attacks.

These poor people had no hope!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

The news is terrible - thinking of you all in Victoria.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

ag, There's little I can say. Anything will be totally inadequate. We're all thinking of you over there. Good luck. TOF


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida

Every time I check the news to see the latest, my heart just breaks.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

No worries, lads - we understand how devastating fire can be.

Your point about being under siege is bang on - it feels like that. Every night, the fire crept ever closer. We had a couple of bad nights out on the mountain, where we knew that if we did not stop it, then the village would be lost. We pray that you have a change in the weather, the only thing that can stop the destruction.

Earnest - Glad that you found some of your family.

Take care


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

A visit from hell INDEED!! My prayers are with you!


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

For anyone who hasn't seen a war zone the pics on the ABC are pretty confronting http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/bushfires/ it must have been so bloody fast. One of the volunteer firemen lost his wife and kids!

At 10:30am 9 Feb Vic time there are still out of control fires in Gippsland and threatening the towns of Stanley and Eskdale. They think they have the fire SE of Bendigo nearly under control


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

My prayers too been watching it on the news and was worrying abt you...glad to hear you are safe...G-Ma :O) Hugs & Prayers


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

London Girl, TOF, Anna Marie Bowman, Sufidreamer, Proud Mom, Lissie.

Thanks for your best wishes and prayers.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G-Ma J, I saw the report on your CBS news and believe me that was only a little snippet of information. I've only just found out that 6 houses were destroyed only 5 Km from us. We are still safe thanks for the Hugs and Prayers. Please say some for the poor folks who have lost everything.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

My heart goes out to all of you there, ag.  Since I don't watch much telly, I only heard about a "wildfire in Australia".  Had no idea it was this bad, but now that I do, it does remind me of the fires in southern Calif a year or so ago that raged for weeks.  One was found to be arson, but the rest were a combination of too-dry brush and the Santa Anna winds that made them spread so quickly.

Earnest, hope you find all of your family and that all are safe.

Hang in there guys!  This hell *will* end eventually.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Hi, Ag.  I only just heard about these fires, and I thought about all our hub friends in Australia. 

I hope that you haven't lost any loved ones.  Please stay safe.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

It's good to see you on line again ag. Latest news here is that a respite is in sight, is that so? (I hope it is)

Hang in there cobber.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

JamaGenee, thanks for your kind thoughts, last reports we have had that some of the townships have been declared "crime scenes" because arson is suspected!

Now that is a sickening thought!

Earnest still has some concerns for family members!

Shirley, today we have no concern for our immediate welfare but as I write this the wind is again gaining strength. The fires at the moment are being driven in a Northerly direction and still threatening small townships.

The frustrating thing is that very few names have been released, and at this stage I do not know of any relations of mine caught in this holocaust.

TOF, thanks mate, power has been off and on here, fortunatly we are at the start of the grid and usually the last to lose power.

There has been a respite in Temperature only, the wind has started to kick up again. The big problem we are having is the Dry Thunderstorms, and the low humidity (it was down around 10% in some places on Saturday).


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Aggie:

Wow...I haven't been keeping up on the news and my prayers are with you and your family. I have some very dear friends living in the Victoria area...I want to say Eversleigh (?) but I could be wrong. I'm holding my breath. Please take care of yourself and keep us updated.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

New update above 3pm 09/09/2009


moonlake profile image

moonlake 7 years ago from America

I'm so sorry about the fires. I have been checking the news all day. Fox had it on earilier and it looked so terrible. Prayers for you and yours.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

spryte , thanks for your kindness, I have the radio on constantly and our major station is constantly giving warnings, I must say where we are is in no danger at all.

Could that be Eversley, if that is correct it is between Ararat and Maryborough on the map I am putting up in the content.

If you are worried you can email some details and I'll look into it , but that area seems OK at this time.

Thanks for your concern.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hi Ag, I have been thinking about you hoping you and yours are safe. I must confess I don't know my Australia geography very well, but when I heard about these horrible fires my first thoughts were for you, Ajcor, Eric Graudins, and any/all other Hubbers from Australia (Lissie, Earnest).

Sending you cool wishes (they're really warm wishes for cooling breezes). MM


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day MM, thanks for your warm wishes and we have got your cooling breezes, which ironically makes it more comfortable it has redirected the fires into creating longer fronts. It is frustrating our fire fighting efforts.

I think Hubhugs in this instance would not be out of place?


Writer Rider 7 years ago

Wow, my aunt used to live in Melbourne but moved to Sydney several years ago. I'm sorry your going through this, best of wishes, I know how it feels living in Southern Calfornia where you're almost guaranteed a firestorm during the Summer because of Santa Ana Winds though this firestorm of yours seems much more savage.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I've heard about the weather conditions and the fires from a friend in Melbourne. It's very tragic indeed. I hope you pull trough this one. Take care and be safe :D


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

Gosh your close Ag. Hubhugs indeed to you and yours. I'm in tassie, and everyone's just happy to help and send you firefighters and whatever else you need!

The worst aspect is there was deliberate arson involved, I hope they catch all of them.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Ag,

Just caught the morning news. The fires are getting a lot of coverage even here. I heard from my relatives on Saturday, but not since. They were all fine then, but I'll be ringing them today to hear the latest. I hope you and yours continue to be OK and my warmest wishes and hopes to Ernest and Annie should they be on line.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Writer Rider, it was as they say the perfect fire storm, it was just unstoppable, I've just been watching some TV coverage at "ground zero" and for the bravery of many people there would have been many more lives lost.

Chris A , thanks for your support!

Lifebydesign, yes thanks to Tassie for the firefighters its hard to keep abreast of all the news that going on. The wind being such a fickle thing we just don't want a wind swing at the moment.

The Government has called a Royal Commission into the whole situation.

Amanda , the way the wind is blowing at the moment it is heading away from Shep and Benella so your rellys should be OK. Thanks for your kind wishes, the last I heard Ernest's relly's are OK and I don't think Annie is in a problem area, I can't confirm that though!


Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 7 years ago from Sydney

Fingers firmly crossed for Earnesthubs' family. Ag, I don't know how you can be calm only 5km from the fire front. I rememeber being in Sydney the year when the fires encroached on the northern suburbs - I was completely safe in the south, but I can still remember how terrifying the sky looked - a hellish mixture of red and black with the sun a fiery orange/red disc in the centre.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Marisa, we have been most fortunate up to this time because the prevailing winds have been favourable to us and there is no reason for anyone to be concerned re our safety, although I really appreciate the concern.

Unless there is a fresh out break I do not think my "assets" as they call them will be in any danger.

At the moment I am sitting here looking out at a beautiful full moon, listening to Nat King Cole.

I know what you mean we were in similar circumstances on Ash Wedensday way back in the 80s'.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Do be careful, though!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks LondonGirl, no need to worry, I didn't get to be a wiley old fox by not being careful!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

TG you sound OK ag - although you being only 5kms out is still too close for any degree of comfort...take care...I have been off the air but have been checking out the fire spots ...looks like Beechworth is in for a bit of trouble at the moment...hope it calms down and passes by...my brother (and his wife) lost his life's work and their home in the Canberra fires in 2002 (the fire balls are the worst ) - it really is so fast and frightening ...and I heard today that a volunteer firefighter lit a couple of the fires and called 000,,,then helped to put out the fires he had lit...how sick is that?...Seems to me that Nat King Cole is a perfect choice for a bit of soul soothing .....

Hope and pray that Earnestshub is united with his family soon... Thank you for those who included me in their best wishes but we are out of harms way in NSW as the fires would be about four hours away as the crow flies - oddly enough we have smelt some of the Victorian smoke on the wind....but I think that a cool change could be on the way so hopefully that will help all those poor people who are fighting valiantly to save what they can...thank god for fire fighters - I remember when we lived in Melbourne and my 4 brothers used to volunteer to go fight fires every January holidays up in the Dandenongs...

Please Take Care of You and Yours ag....


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Ag: Glad you at least are OK. This piece is appropriately named...it does sound like hell. I know it must be tough to see all this going on around you. My best wishes for you, your family, friends, and all your fellow citizens!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Ag, please stay safe. I am worried about you and your family. I hope things get better and the fires get under control. Please keep us posted if you can.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Likewise ag. Long silences scare us that there may have been a wind change. drop a word when you can. Keep bearing up old mate.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thanks very much for this hub agvulpes. It is now Tuesday morning. My niece and her children are ok ......so far.

She can't get out now as all the roads are blocked. Two fires have joined together and the fire keeps flaring up and changing direction. I now have mobile phone contact but there is nothing I can do. I feel like a helpless child! My niece is smart and has taken lots of precautions, but as someone who worked fighting forest fires I am still very scared for her and the other family and friends still caught in 3 different parts of the state, and all with fires that are still not controlled.Thank you all for your good wishes. People are slowing checking in. I friend who was in the thick of it just rang to say they are all safe. They are still in their 2 homes. They are not safe! They have 100,000 hectares of bush around them, and it is one of the few places like this that have not burned. I am pleading with him to get out if a fire starts within 30klms, and to travel very carefully.

I cant get in to help anywhere, it is hell waiting.Know one will contact the overloaded red cross line for fear of bringing the system down it is so overloaded. I have tried to get information, but people cannot make contact for a dozen reasons.Flat batteries because the power has been off is only one of them.People are out helping others. I just have to wait.It is not easy.

People in one small town saw a fire 25klms or 15 miles away and in a few minutes it was on them. The fire face was doing 120kph or 60 miles an hour!

It does not help to say you are safe, you need to get the hell out of if you still can.

I am sorry to say there are now more than 170 dead, and this number is sure to keep going up.This is not the end of it, we have more extreme weather to come.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day guys, I really am overwhelmed by the concern that you are all showing, and It's great to hear that Aj and Earn have some good news.

The main concern for the fires today are in the NE of the state see the map above.

Latest UPDATE above 10am 10/02/09


christine almaraz profile image

christine almaraz 7 years ago from colorado springs

My prayers are with you and all of the families who have lost loved ones. It's not a good start to the New Year there, but believe that people worldwide sympathize and are praying for you all.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Glad you're hanging in, Ag. You are definitely in our prayers. I heard on the radio this morning that the authorities suspect arson. God, I hope they're wrong.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks guys, unfortunately it looks like there is an arsonist at work apparently he/ they have been busy lighting fires for a couple of months. The Police have just announced that they are confident of an arrest?

We do have a very severe penalty for arsonists with a max prison term of 25 years and there is talk that the charge may be updated to "murder".


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

If I read correctly, this is traditionally the time of year when fires start on their own.  A person would have to be a monster to get their jollies setting fires with such dry conditions.  If it is arson, then murder is definitely the charge, or more accurately mass murder, and a public burning at the stake would be a totally appropriate punishment.

ag, I don't know how you're managing to stay so calm through all of this.  

earnest, any news on our niece?  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she gets out safely.

Hubhugs to all of you. 


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day JamaGenee I've been a little bit preoccupied today!

You are correct about fires starting on their own, especially when you have a relative humidity down as low as 10%. Dry thunderstorms also do not help and there have been a few today started by lightning strikes.

Me calm oh yeah?. I cannot contact earnest as of 5pm. I spoke to him about midday and he was not sure. This is the critical time of day and the winds are expected to pick up. At the moment the winds are from a constant direction and we are just holding our collective breaths!

Thanks for the Hubhugs but I think there are a lot of CFA firefighting Heroes that deserve Hugs more than me!

Some of these guys have not stopped since Friday and a lot of them have lost members of their own families and houses. But they will not give up!

 


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

New update above. 5pm 10/02/2009


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

Jesus Ag I had no idea the firs were so close to your place - forget whether or not you have a warning -get the hell out and get to town - what's the cost of a night or 2 in a hostel re the risk?


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day Lissie, trust me I am no hero and when I say we (my family) is in no danger I mean it. We are trying to keep a sense of normalcy in our lives. (apart from the fact I have a tranny glued to my ear constantly).

The wind fortunately for us , but sadly unfortunatley for others is still forcing the fires away from us . I just pray that mother nature does not play a nasty trick on us and do a 90 degree wind shift.

I really do appreciate everyones concern, and if anyone wants to help by making a donation to the poor unfortunates who have lost everything you can, through the Red Cross. I know times are tough but even $1 would help.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Hi Ag horrific stuff. I heard on the news here that the death toll is over 200. These fire seasons have now become a world wide problem, California, Cape Town and now Melbourne. Hang in there Ag my thoughts and prayers are with you! I think the devastation is unimaginable!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks sixty, the toll is officially still 173, but we have been told to be prepared for more!

Thanks very much for your support. Things look like they have eased a bit for now but wind changes and more heat are being predicted for the weekend.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

My niece is still ok, I can only wait and hope. The rest of the clan are still without phones as far as I can tell. Most in the fire areas have no electricity, so mobiles will be flat.My niece has been under threat for almost a week now, she must be so tired watching all day and night.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Earn, thanks for your update and glad to hear that your niece is OK.

I don't know about you but it feels a bit like the lull before the storm, I hope it is just my imagination!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

I am praying for rain - my thoughts are with you and Earnest....annie


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks annie , my granddaughter did rain dances a few years back at pre school and it actually rained. We may have to resurrect the practice. We have not had any appriceable rain this year.

I heard that the fires may be crossing into NSW in the not to distant future!


SiddSingh profile image

SiddSingh 7 years ago

Hi Ag,

I don't think I will able to understand all of your problems and troubles due to this tragedy, but trust me, I will pray for you. I hope you and Earnest stay safe, and everything is OK, at least for you guys.

Good luck, mate!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day Sidd, thanks for your prayers, our brave firefighters need as many prayers as we can give them.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

I have added a poll above the Comments I would really like an honest opinion because it is believed that a lot of people stayed in their homes to fight the wildfires.

We do not have compulsary evacuation in Victoria.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I wouldn't stay, I'd be outter there like a shot. I'd rather be alive with no house.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

LondonGirl, I would be right behind you pushing!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update report:-11pm Tuesday 10.02.09


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

This is truly horrific. Way beyond my worst fears.

We had news today of relatives living in Bunyip who had their home completely destroyed, and there is nothing to feed their stock.

It's incomprehensible to me that people could have gone out in 46 degree heat and driving winds and started fires. Just can't understand it at all.

Earnest - I hope that your family members are all OK.

And AG - Don't get your tail burnt!

Thanks to everyone on HP for your kind thoughts and concern.

I live in Tasmania, which is an island state south of victoria. We also have a history of several large fires, and we are also experiencing drought conditions, and tinder dry forests.

As I look out of my home office onto the timbered hills, I hope that I won't see them covered in flames.


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

So sorry to hear your news Eric. It is indeed tragic. I am though amazed and rallied by the huge monetary response in donations - that is a good thing.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Eric, I hope your relatives have got out without any injuries and the poor animals always seem to be the ones that are made to suffer. I have seen a lot of bushfires but I have never seen the earth so badly burnt as this one. I is like it was attacked with a blow torch.

Thanks for letting everyone know where you live I thought I would leave it up to you!

I'm about to get this little fox tail off to the sack.

Thanks again !


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Lifebydesign

Yes it is a reassuring feeling to know that when you are in trouble people from all walks of life will come to your aid.

I believe though after the final analysis the amount collected will be a drop in the bucket compared to what is required. Many things can never be replaced simply with money.


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

@lifebydesign and ag:

Thanks. Yes, they are OK, but I believe that they have lost everything.

I didn't think it was any great secret that I lived in Tassie. I used to live in Victoria, but have been here for nearly 30 years now. Another 20, and I'll almost be a local :-)


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Just to let you know that I'm listening out. Trite, but truthful. Keep hanging in, it's almost over.


saltymick profile image

saltymick 7 years ago

As an expat Aussie living long term in England, I can only offer sympathy and solidarity for the people of Victoria. Strangely an event like this makes me even more homesick than usual, "love a sunburnt country..." and all that I suppose.


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

ag, I'm checking in every time I log on just to make sure you're still posting. Good to see you are okay. You and your neighbors are still in my prayers!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

In my prayers as well. Devasting disaster - must reallly feel like hell coming up from the pit of Earth,


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

I stopped by to check on you, hope you and your family are staying safe.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Ag,

Just checked in to see if there is any news. Hope you and all our other Aussie hub-mates are all still ok. A big cyber hug to you all

Mandy


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

pictures and news I am watching, continue to be horrific. its absolutely terrible and heartbreaking.


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

Just a warning guys - there are fake fundraisers popping up trying to scam of the bushfires - be careful - if in doubt donate via the Australian red cross - you can do it on-line http://www.redcross.org.au/ourservices_acrossaustr...

On a similar note some <censored> lit more fires last nite - but they got controlled fast enough - as if the firefighters didn't have enough to do!


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

<censored> local charity is asking for men's suits - for the funerals that makes you think


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Lissie, I wonder why your comment was censored.

Ag, how you doing my friend? Hope all is well. If you have about a million views on this it's just me wondering about my mate.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Bloody vultures - always somebody who tries to make a quick buck out of tragedy. The Red Cross sounds good, and I believe that many banks have set up accounts for over the counter donations.

Hope that everybody is bearing up over there - there were some heartbreaking interviews on the news today. Thinking of you all.


pgrundy 7 years ago

This is so frightening. I am glad you and yours are OK but we've been seeing it on the news each night here and it's really terrifying. I can't imagine.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Saltymick,  Proudmom, Patty English, Gwendymom, Amanda, GoldenToad.

I apologise if I have missed anyone, it is quite overwealming the support I am receiving from all my friends here on HubPages.

Everyone, we, and I mean all of Victoria, thank you for your well wishes.

Unfortunately well wishes although very comforting, do not feed people or put clothes on their backs. Some people do not even have identification?

If you want to donate no matter how small the safest way is through the Red Cross, there is a link at the bottom of the page. They state that 100% of the money donated will go to the victims of the fire.

As Lissie has pointed out there was 2 incidents of deliberately lite fires last night.

 


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Ag, I hope they catch them and try them for mass murder. It's a horrible horrible crime they have committed.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

It's just unbelievable what some sick individuals will do.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day gwendymom I don't know who is censoring Lizzie's comments,it's not me! ( I think Lissie may be self censoring) personally I'm passed it . These guys who are running scams and lighting fires are arseholes of the highest order and scum of the earth.

Fortunatly these people are few and far between and we should be singing the praises of all our Firefighters and relief workers. Some of these heroes have been virtually non stop since last Friday.

Pam , Sufidreamer thanks for your support


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Hi Ag. Just checking in to check on you and Ernst--and get your latest update. Peace.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update above:-11am Wednesday 11.02.09


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

We are waiting and hoping for better news. Our hearts ache for the suffering of your neighbors.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Chris, thanks mate, it looks like peace is quite a ways off yet, it looks like things may get worse before they get better.

Rochelle, thankyou for your warmth and comforting in our time of need.


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

LOL I just didn't want f**king swear on AG's hub - so I self-censored!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks Lissie go wash out your mouth you bad girl, LOL.

I heard the f**k word dropped on our national radio today and they did not beep it out. I have felt like using it myself many many times!


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

Mobile phone companies Telstra and Optus are quickly working on restoring their damaged towers, and providing free phones and calls to people in the affected areas.

Some companies are going to waive bills to people in the affected areas for 3 months, and also charge mobile calls at fixed call rates.

As communication with loved ones is one of the most important aspects for people in disaster areas, this is a very useful gesture from these telcos.

 


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Eric, Thanks for that update, I've been a bit busy today.

If anyone else has any update info regarding the fires feel free to post it here and I will follow it up when I can.

Sometimes you cannot see the trees for the forest? (what's left of it)


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Just checking in to let you know we're keeping in touch. Stay hanging in there ag.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Hi Ag just checking to see if you are Ok.


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

News today that the weather is worsening again for fires and that there are concerns that the Bunyip fires may join up with the fires to the north and even threaten parts of Melbourned itself! Heard on ABC radio today that a charity was calling for towels, sheets, toiletries, usual sort of things - and men's suits - when the announcer was surprised - she said it was for the funerals - gave me shivers.

It seems that although the weather has been extreme the idiot green lobby can take part of the blame for the catastrophy - they have pressured shire councils to reduce back burning - to "protect nature" - Maryville - the town totally destroyed and where they are now saying 100 of a population of 500 may have died - had a policy of encouraging residents to plant trees near their homes - it beggars belief.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Hi Lissie, thanks for the update, ag must be exhausted by now.

He told you to wash your mouth out a bit back, perhaps this will help? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr_XQjBEgzk

Best wishes.


Camping Dan profile image

Camping Dan 7 years ago

I cannot believe the massive scale of these fires and my heart goes out to all who are feeling the effects. To think that some of these are man made makes it all even more tragic.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day guys thanks everone again for the support I have been a bit busy.

Although "they" are saying it is calm where the main fires are , it is quite blowy here and there appears to be a wind change coming through here.

Lissie I was only joking about washing out your mouth I hope you realised that, I'd hate to upset a Kiwi! I'd don't know if I would want see you do the Haka. On the other hand it might be fun. *smile*

TOF thanks I needed a giggle!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update posted above:-

8pm Wednesday 11/02.2009

11 am Thursday 12.02.2009

Once again thanks for your support.


fatactress profile image

fatactress 7 years ago from here

get the hell out!!!!


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

I thought you might ag.

I've read your update, sounds like a much needed respite. As I said to BT months back, we're behind you all the way, (but this time without the big knives!)


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

@Lissie.

You're dead right about the policy of the reduction of back burning.

The Stretton Royal Commissions into previous victorian bushfire disasters in 1939 and 1944 both recommended more fuel reduction burns.

Many other experts have recommended that this take place, but these opinions were ignored in favour of the desire to have as much greenery as possible.

Instead of a Royal commission onto the cause of the fires, why not an enquiry into why the constant recommendations for fuel reduction burns have been ignored?

Of course, such reduction burns would not eliminate bushfires. But by my limited understanding of such things, the intensity of such fires would be greatly reduced.

I really hope that the predictions of fires merging and flaring up again are wrong.

And AG - when you toss that coin, I hope that you come up with the right decision mate.

re your recent update: a bulldozed fire break won't be much good unless it's V--E--R--Y wide. In a crown fire, flames can leap hundreds of metres from treetop to treetop.

Eric G.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

fatactress. Have no fear, as I have said many times. You do not need have any fears for me, I am a devout coward and if the fire becomes a threat to me and mine, we will be gone.

TOF what big knives.?  I thought they were silver ferns you were using?

Thanks for your fire fighters, they are into the thick of it. I think they were going to do a Haka in front of the fire. LOL

 


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Eric, I agree with everything you say, sometimes you do have to protect people from themselves.

It is logical to people like you and me that the more fuel you put on a fire the longer and stronger it will burn. Fan it with 100kph winds and you have the Perfect Wildfire. (I'm using the term wildfire as I've been told that the term "bushfire" is not understood by many people).

With regard to the width of a fire break here are some sobering figures of fire spotting. (crown jumping)

Average bushfire .....short distance spotting 50-100m / long distance   1-2km

This wildfire.............short distance spotting  1-2KM    / long distance  15 KM.

It defies the imagination!


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Not silver ferns on BT, more like wooden stakes or silver bullets!(I wouldn't let a Silver Fern [capitals] within a bull's roar of BT, they're long legged netball players. He'd think he'd died and gone to heaven!)

Whatever we can do to help ag, if a Haka works like a rain dance I reckon they'll give it a go.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

LOL with TOF.

At this stage we will take anything.

Btw.  just heard on the radio that a "religious" group has blamed this catastrophe on the Victorian Government passing the "abortion bill " last year. Gods way of paying us back. Hmmmmm.

btw 2 A nice cold Fosters would go down reallll well!


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Fosters? God you Must be desperate.

Oh, sorry, you're Victorian, you actually LIKE the stuff!

Cheers.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

When I was firefighting around Noojee area we did a lot of back-burning and reduction burning. A lot of it was not popular with local bushmen. The death of all the animals that get caught in reduction burning is a horrible site that I have witnessed many times, and the reduction is not very effective against the main causes of bushfires. You can't clean the forests of fuel. At least not in the forests I was bought up in. If you can get a burn going in the big tree country it is a fine line between a bushfire and reduction burning as it is usually too wet to burn or too dry to light safely. The locals often understand this, the university trained forestry officers I saw when working for the then state forestry commission often started fires because they had never seen active bush fires and their many dangerous quirks.

Lightning strikes are usually manageable and are searched for daily in the summer when there is lightning. We have lookout towers on all the highest vantage points and these are manned by fire spotters with powerful binoculars.Modern firefighting aircraft can stop these fires if they are seen in time.

Many of the worst fires are lit by fire bugs. These lunatics start fires in extreme temperatures when winds are blowing at 60kph and anything that can burn will.These fires are often started in dry pastures and by time they reach the bush they are hot enough to fuel from the trees and reduction burning would have little effect on stopping these fires. I feel these people will be severely punished when caught and will in the case of several fires be rightly charged with murder.

I have seen a whole forest burnt out by so called reduction burning insisted upon by our city born chief forestry officer. I do see the sense in the burning and clean ups that need to be done around communities and individual houses, but it always has a cost to the environment.The main thing that people need is individual fire shelters in their homes. Agvulpes suggested digging a big whole pouring concrete walls with a fire-proof top that can be pulled closed. I think this or something similar will need to be incorporated in each rebuilt home.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update above:-2 pm Thursday 12.02.2009

includes video of Sam the Koala


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

earnistshub, A fire shelter as you suggested should work, but only if you can make it totally airtight for the period that the fire is passing over, otherwise air will be sucked from the room, suffocating the occupants. This principle was used against the Vietcong in 'Nam with the napalm bombing, to suffocate them in their tunnels.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

We had this same problem in October 2003 and October 2007 here in Southern California. Sadly one of the fires in October 2003 was set by a lunatic such as the ones you described in your hub. The Panorama Fire in our area back in 1980 was believed to have been set by a human, but this person was never found. Do you have the big super scooper water planes such as the ones the Canadians lend Southern California during fire season? Those have been very helpful in fighting our extreme fires in a place which is very dry and brushy.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

TOF and earnest, strange coincidence as I was catching up on you comments ABC radio was interviewing a Professor from the RMIT on this very subject.

He comments in summary was that although it would be expensive it is a practical project with the proper design. The air being sucked out problem is handled by making the module airtight as TOF suggests, and building in oxygen containers to last a period of about an hour to give the wildfire time to pass similar to Tornados.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

SweetiePie, thanks for dropping in and contributing to the discussion.

As we speak the police have two men in custudy, "helping with their investigations" as they say. They were not caught lighting fires but at this stage all the police will tell us is that the men were loitering.

It is hard for us normal people to imagine what goes through these lunatics minds when they would know full well that they are putting peoples welfare in danger.

I have been told that your California country side is very similar to ours?

We have those huge Sky Crane Helicopters (5?) and many smaller helicopters and aeroplanes fighting our wildfires . But I believe that they were very limited in there use on Saturday due to the extreme wind and dangerous conditions.

Thanks again SweetiePie


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hi Ag et al down under, It's comforting to see you're still hanging in there and thanks for keeping us all apprised of happenings. I have not heard this, but would hope that our CDF experts would come over to help. Yes, California is infamous for wildfires. Both in So Cal where SweetiePie and GoldenToad live and up closer to me, in Tahoe area. Dry conditions, wind and trees too close to houses -- recipe for fire disaster.

I'll raise an imaginary Fosters to you, dear friend. And will check here to see if they are collecting donations (non monetary) for the victims. Praying for you and your countrymen/women. MM


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

MM, as gruesome as it sounds it looks like one of our big problem will be identifing the unfortunate deceased. The Authorities are saying it may take up to 12 months to carry out this task!

Do you know if gwendymom is OK , I heard that a Tornado ripped through Oklahoma today? and she has not posted for a while?

We are probably equi-distant from the equator in different hemispheres, so we have similar climes at opposite times in the year. We hear about your wildfires in the depth of our winter.

I am looking forward to getting smashed on Fosters or what ever is around when all this is over!

We all appreciate everyones prayers.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Agvulpes,

Much of our countryside is similar to parts of Australia, or so I have been told from people that live there.  Not exactly the same, but some of the pictures I took up in the mountains a friend told me looked like parts of Australia. We also have the same problems with fire fighters setting back fires that have often created worse fires. One of the biggest problems we had in the past was the home owner's associations not allowing people to clear trees and brush near their homes, which resulted in many houses going up in flames. The houses with more manageable brush often survived the fires, whereas the houses with brush right next door were consumed. My dad and his neighbors used garden hoses to put out fire that was less than hundred yards away, so we can relate with what you are going through. It sounds like in Australia though everything is farther spread out and you do not have as much man power and access to lakes to keep doing water drops. That was critical in putting out fires here.  

I hope things get better there soon because fires are horrible.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

Ag, I am ok and doing well. I hope that you are too, How sweet of you to be thinking about me at a time like this when you are surrounded by fire and mayhem.

I was rading your comments and saw the part where you said that a religious group had blamed the fires as being Gods wrath for abortion. We had wildfires here and in the teaxs panhandle a few years back and it seemed like everything was burning up. My bosses sister blamed it on the wrath of God for a democrat being the governor. Some people are just crazy.

Anyway I hope you can get reasted, I am sure you need it, and thanks for taking the time to keep us updated, it's really appreciated.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

SweetiePie,

You are right about the trees being a problem. In Victoria if you want to clear a tree you have to apply to the local council to fell any native tree over a certain size ( I think it is 6'' in diameter) at a cost of $90 per tree (last time I checked) plus the cost of felling . Most councils have a register for "Trees of Note" and anyone can register a tree it does not matter where it is. and that tree is protected forever.

Our water supply is very low at the moment (30%) with no significant rain this year. Yet Queensland is flooded! crazy weather! While I am writing this we are having a hail storm, not enough though!

Most dams on the farms have dried up and most of the water being used on the fires would be our cities precious drinking water.

Unfortunately SweetiePie even though our country is wide it was because the people in the fires were closely populated and access is limited that they could not escape even with warnings.

Thanks for your wellwishes


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

gwendymom its a relief to hear that you are OK.

Some people just can't except that it mother natures way of keeping the earth clean and regenerating new growth. Some species require fire to get germination for their seeds.

I appreciate you concern as well. the winds are freshening and Victoria could be in for a bad night!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

So I guess it looks like the fires closest to you are contained, I hope I saw that right. If you are not in any iminent danger that is good. I feel for the rest of your countrymen, it's a terrible tragedy. I hope they get the fires out soon, and that the Jackasses who did it. Ag, again thanks for your concern, I really do apprecite you, you sweetheart!

I have to get to bed now, I am about to pass out and I think I have a long day ahead of me again. Good night, and sweet dreams. Keep safe.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

Hi Ag: Glad you're Ok and there has been a bit of a respite. I saw the story of Sam the Koala here on TV--very heartwarming. Anything heartwarming during this time is helpful, I guess. Godspeed!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Gwendymom, that is correct all the fires in our general vicinity are well contained, and we have not been in any danger for a few days. We are lucky that all the fires likely to cause any damage to our property are well in the distance.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I did not realize dense population in the fire areas, but that was actually a similar problem here.  I thought because you have a smaller population than the entire state of California man-power might have been more of a problem for doing water drops and the like because we had in state and out of state firefighters during the debacle here. We even had firefighters from Canada that came in to help with the firestorms because it was that widespread and out of control. I am sorry to hear about people not being able to get away during the evacuations.  My mom actually left when there was a mandatory evacuation for the fire near their house in 2007, but my dad refused to go and some of the neighbors stayed too.  I think it is almost insane to stay behind and fight the fire with garden hoses in that situation, but they really wanted to do that, and were able to save their homes because there was no way the firefighters could have got there in time.  Everyone was spread so thin during the first days of the fires.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day Chris it has been a reasonable day in the hills but unfortunatly over the last half hour reports are coming through that the winds have changed and strengthened.

We are collectively holding our breath to see what's is going to happen over night. It is now 5.30 pm.

If you have not seen the full video I have put a link in the updates above, and the report is that Sam is doing well and has even got herself a boyfriend. There are many heartwarming stories starting to come out of the monsterous horror that we have witnessed. I do appreciate your well wishes.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

SweetiePie,  I believe that the tragic loss of life was not through lack of manpower but the speed that the fires struck. I hope you realise that we do have a lot of experience in fighting wildfires and warnings were going out all of last week about how bad these fires could get.

No one could have predicted how ferocious they would strike. Even if they did people would still not have left their homes.

We do not have mandatory evacuation in Victoria, I believe that will be revisited in the Royal Commission that has being established.

I agree with you about staying if we are threatened we will be gone from here like a shot. We do have a good staging point within a few minutes walk.

I'm glad your dad was able to save his house, and we have stories coming out that some people have done the same here, I still think I would rather leave early than too late!  Where do you draw the line?

 


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Good to hear that you are still ok and lets hope the wind doesn't turn too radically! cheers ag


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

aj thanks for dropping in, things seem to be settled into a consolidation period and hopefully our Firies can get this under control. At the moment there is still 15 fires not being contained.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Ag

I'm glad you're still safe from the fires. I sat and read through all the updates with my daughter last night, and she was very taken with the little koala. I check this hub first every time I log on to see how you are all coping out there.

All the best.

Mandy


Writer Rider 7 years ago

Wow, this is getting worse, best of wishes to you all there. May you get the rain Southern California has been getting.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day Amanda, thanks for your kind caring. Good news on Sam the Koala.

I have just seen the latest news and an update on Sam is that she is coming along nicely but her poor paws still look red raw.

Writer Rider thanks for your kind comments and some areas in Vic have received some rain today, but it has not reached the main areas as yet.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Checking the updates - glad that everybody is still OK. We are having an unbelievable amount of rain, and I wish that we could send you even a tiny amount.

Interesting points about the prevention of fires - whilst many of the Greek fires were started by arsonists, and propagated by freak weather conditions, the main problem was central heating.

Even ten years ago, everybody in rural areas used wood stoves for warmth and cooking. Every September, people would go up into the forests and pick up all the dead wood and branches for a year's supply of fuel, cleaning the area completely.

Now, most people have electricity, so the dead wood is left to build up. Add dry conditions, and land developers with petrol cans and matches, and it is a disaster waiting to happen.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day Sufidreamer, thanks for dropping by, I think you might have raised an interesting point about the air conditioners. I had not even considered that point I believe it would be very valid here as well. Many councils will not approve open fires and any wood burning apparatus must be approved and you can only burn certain types of wood. blah blah blah , the rules just go on and on.

It is just as easy to install a reverse cylce air con and be done with it!

Ironically the weather forecast in the fire areas tonight is severe thunderstorms!

That generally means lots of lightning with very little rain. Keep your fingers crossed!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

update 11 pm Thursday 12 02 2009

Hi guys I have just put a video of images and aussie songs on the top to give you and idea of the ferocity of these fires. The images may be disturbing but the songs will give you an idea of our Aussie spirit.

We may have been flattened by this holocaust but,  We will wipe the tears from our eyes. We will get off our bums and we will rebuild again.!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Chin up Ag you Aussie lot are great fighters and wil come back from this disasater swinging. I'll have that Fosters for you mate.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Lightning and no rain - that is not good. Take care, everybody.

As you know, there are many Greeks with relatives in Oz, so everybody is praying for you guys. Ordinary Australians sent millions of dollars in aid after the Greek fires and that has not been forgotten - there are many fundraising campaigns here at the moment. Only a small piece of good news, but better than nothing. :)


SiddSingh profile image

SiddSingh 7 years ago

Hi Ag,

Just back to check the updates. Hope you and your family are okay. Just take care and hang on, mate!


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

Just watching the ABC - a fireman said it takes the volunteer rural fire groups 2 years to get approval for a back burn - you can only burn in certain, often rare weather conditions obviously. Another person said a guy was been prosecuted by the local shire because he illegally cut trees down around his house - guess whose house survived -none of the neighbours did. They had video of "before" pics of Marysville ( the town which was totally destroyed) - there were mature large trees around every house - through the town - insane!

Interesting to see above that SCal has compulsory evacs - apparently its "impractical" to order the evacuation of 500,000 people in Victoria - I don't see why - probably 90% of them have vehicle for goodness sakes!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

The trees are a major problem.

At the back of our house, there is a little church surrounded by large pine trees. The chainsaw was on standby - if the fire reached the next village, they were coming down. If they fell on the church - so be it.

I love trees, but I was not going to risk losing my home and possessions for them. Sometimes, bureaucracy has to be bypassed by direct action.


Gillsie profile image

Gillsie 7 years ago from Oregon

God bless.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Sixty, Sufidreamer, Sidd, Lissie and Gillsie, thankyou for your support I'm putting up an update as soon as I can.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Lissie you are correct on that couple who defied the council and cut down his trees.

They were fined and made to meet all council and their own costs.

Total cost over $100,000 it nearly bankrupted them. They are the only house left standing.

Sufidreamer I would have done exactly the same, in fact some people did do that and saved their houses!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update10 am Friday 13.02.2009


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update4pm Friday 13.02.2009


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Hope things take a turn for the better soon.

About you poll, those who say they would stay and fight, probably haven't seen a wildfire up close. I have, and I wouldn't.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Rochelle, you are sure correct about getting up close and personal with a wildfire.

I do understand why people want to stay and protect their property, but they fall into the trap of not knowing when to leave.

A lot of the people must have believed that they had ample time to escape, but unfortunately the escape route had been blocked by falling trees.

Thanks Rochelle for your kindness.


britneydavidson profile image

britneydavidson 7 years ago from united kingdom

this is really too much ....i havnt heard so horrible before.....


Lissie profile image

Lissie 7 years ago from New Zealand

Interesting todayHealsville was threatened and a lot more people left immeditately - I think seeing the coverage of Ash Wednesday in 83 what has always made me terrified of bushfires. Latest figures still 181 dead but 1800 homes lost and 7000 people homeless


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Ag How goes it? I heard on the news that there are some flair ups and possibly new fires because of the high winds? I hope not! BTW i lived in Mpumulanga and the fires there were horrendous. You cannot outrun a raging fire even in a car. Some people tried and were burnt to death when our fires were raging there. Fortunately that area is realtively sparsely populated, mostly farms so no big news coverage but devasting for those who live there, none the less.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

britney davidson, thanks for dropping in.

Lissie yes Healseville was saved with a very small wind shift and a lot of brave men on the ground. The easterly wind is not helping the situation at all. Smoke has been blanketing Melbourne all day. Your figures are accurate if not understated. The magnitude of this fire puts Ash Wednesday as a bonfire.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

agvulpes, I hope tomorrow will not be too bad, but 28 degrees is hot enough to be a bad one. Good luck everyone. The army is increasing it's numbers in several areas today so hopefully we will have the man force for tomorrow.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day sixty, unfortunately you have got the news pretty right although the radio has just announced that there are no towns on ember alert.

I think anyone who has been through the horror of a bush fire realises just how quickly conditions can change. We also had some people in their cars that could not escape the fires.

Were the fire fighting capabilities of Mpumulanga as good as they could have been.

BTW where is Mpumulanga I cannot bring it to memory?


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Ag Mphumalanga is the old Eastern Transvaal. the fires were near the Natal border where there are pretty severe winds due to drop in the escarpment near the Drakensburg mountains. The firefighters were local farmers and volunteers. as I said sprarsely populated rural communities. The local government and military were also called out to help. The firebreaks tend to be adequate unless there are really high winds. The worst fires are experienced in the Cape town area and happen every year.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I think you misunderstood some of what I was saying earlier about numbers.  Australians from what I hear are experts at fire fighting, but it is much easier to put out fires more quickly when you have more people and more resources. However, this may only be true with our North American fires where having large crews was essential.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

earnest the wind outside my place is gusting up to 70kph, but fortunately it is not that bad where the fires are burning. 28 degrees is better than 40degrees but once the fire has started, ambient temperature does not seem to have much effect on the fires, but it does make it more comfortable for the firefighters. I think we should bring in every available Defence Force Member.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Sixty,

I think I can place that now, is that going towards Kruger National Park and I think the escarpment was called "Gods Window"?


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Sweetiepie, reading back over my replies I do seem to have come across as rude, this certainly was not my intention and I do apologize.

In an endeavor not to sound too dramatic last night I did not explain myself properly. I understood what you were saying about the manpower.

In previous firestorms in Victoria this would have been a reasonable expectation.

In this instance we had firemen who had been fighting fires for more than 20 years reporting back that when they were hosing the fire, the force of the wind and the energy of the fire was forcing the water from the hose back over their heads. The fire was traveling at an estimated 100kph and likened to a Tsunami of flame 50 metres (150feet) high and the radiant heat so high that no human could get closer than 200 metres without an adverse effect. That would have been terrifying. Another point is that in the houses that were burning were cars with petrol and LPG tanks and many houses had large LPG tanks for heating and cooking. These added to the danger by exploding!

The safety of the fire crews had to be given top priority!


ocbill profile image

ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

this was some very sad news. My sister is on the western side of the continent. This must have been horrific for the victims.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Agvulpes, I know the world is hoping the worst is over there. I haven't been hearing as many reports about the fires recently, are they finally under control?


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day ocbill, thanks for dropping in , I have heard that WA is experiencing their own problems with bushfires.

G'day Constant Walker, so far this Saturday morning we are having a pretty good day and I'll be putting an update above in the next half an hour.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Updated10am Saturday  14.02.2009

I believe today is Valentine's Day.

I would like to wish all my friends here on HubPages a happy Valentine's ! ;-[)


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

That's good to hear, eh?


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thanks for the dilligent updates agvulpes. It does look better today although the amount of smoke is alarming. I woke to a pink grey smoke filled sky from horizon to Horizon in Melbourne. By lunch time I could see the clear blue sky though the smoke.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Constant Walker and earnestshub, yes so far today is progressing as the authorities had planned.


mperangelo profile image

mperangelo 7 years ago from WARWICK

What a tradgedy --My prayers go out for all who were affected by this horror show.


kappa022 profile image

kappa022 7 years ago from Florida

Wow, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and everyone who has been affected by this horrific tragedy. Thank you for sharing your story.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

mperangelo and kappa022,

on behalf of everyone in Victoria I thank you for your prayers and kind thoughts, our brave firefighters are continuing the fight. It is a long way from over.


Proud Mom profile image

Proud Mom 7 years ago from USA

And an especially happy Valentine's Day to you, ag.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Proud Mom, I appreciate the kind sentiments.

Life does go on, and Victoria did show it's resilience as many planned wedddings for Valentine's day did go ahead, albeit somewhat somberly.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Hi ag, couldn't drop by for a couple of days, and have just caught up with the comments. How's it looking now? Good Luck.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day mate, just heading off for some shut-eye I've just put up an update.

Your guys are here now to fight the fires and we just beat you at the cricket by 1 run. How much better can it get? Only jokin' thanks for dropping in!

Update:-

10pm Sunday 15.02.2009


mulder profile image

mulder 7 years ago from Warnbro Western Australia

I have a cousin  who is a Doctor at the Alfred  hosptial  in Victoria    she told my Aunty   it was terrible  when  all the burn victims  from the fire came  to the hosptial they were screaming in pain   she said she will never forget it   it brought  me to tears hearing that .

We live Perth  Western Australia   and  we donated  some money  to the   bush appeal  and our heart and prayers  go out to the brave fire fighters to all the volunteers  and helpers and most  of  to the people of victoria  who have lost their homes and lifes  and loved  ones   in this  terrible  fire  .


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Rain stopped play! We should have played in Melbourne, You could do with a bit of rain.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Hi Ag your geography is spot on! I agree with TOF, the cricket should have been in Melbourne perhaps it would have rained and help save the day!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update10pm Monday 16.02.2009


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

G'day sixty, yeah mate rain would have been great! It will probably rain at the Wanderers to save your hides! lol

Do you still get those afternoon thunderstorms! OMG I thought we got them bad enough.

I can remember about 1973 , we spent Christmas Eve in our station wagon with the 2 kids outside Kruger National Park so we could get in there early next morning. We opened our presents outside the gates and had a great time with the guards! My 2 year old boy at the time had long blonde hair. They were entranced with us mad Aussies!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

update:-10pm Tuesday 17.02.2009


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update:-

10pm Thursday 19.02.2009


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

Lissie said:

"apparently its "impractical" to order the evacuation of 500,000 people in Victoria - I don't see why - probably 90% of them have vehicle for goodness sakes!"

This would probably make around 200,000 vehicles moving on the roads - many of which are narrow, windy, and unsealed. Certainly not 8 lane highways. And many of which go through the areas where the fires are burning - probably resulting in thousands of deaths in cars that are lined up on the roads with nowhere to go.

THATS why I believe an evacuation plan would not be practical.

Cheers, Eric G.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Eric G,  I agree with you because that is precisely what did happen to some of the people.

On my heroes Hub I pointed out the 4 coppers who carried out the orderly evacuation of the 200 people that had gathered at the Park. Image if the numbers there had been more. It could have been an even bigger disaster.

We will be hearing a lot more about the time it took for the warnings to get out from when the fires started.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Agvulpes- That was terrible news and I was watching TV and was remembering about you and other Australians. The sad part is that it seems it could have been a man made mischief rather than a freak natural calamity. I hope those families who lost their family members find solace and those affected are soon returning back to normal life. Thumbs up for highlighting this tragic day.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

countrywomen, thankyou you very much for you kind thoughts. Unfortunately there is no chance in the near future of any sign of normallity. Even though we have now entered our Autumn, we have been warned that tomorrow (Tuesday 3rd March) will be bringing weather conditions similar to what now has become known as "Black Saturday". Everyone is praying that the forecasters are wrong!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia Author

Update Monday 10pm 2nd March 2009

Our Premier Mr John Brumby has said about tomorrow:-

"It's going to be a terrible, terrible day."


lxxy profile image

lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Wonderful journalism for a...hellish day.

I'm glad Sam is safe!


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

A horrific event! I am stunned by these fires! The devestation must be tremendous! Bless all those who fought these fires, and all those who lost to these fires!


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Cathi, thank you for your kind thoughts. Although it has been 12 months since these horrendous fires the scars are still very apparent. People are still living in temporary accomodation waiting for their home to be build. A friend of mine has just in this last month moved into their rebuilt home! The country side still remains scarred and businesses are still to rebuild :(

Thank you again for your kind words!


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

My friend...

I truly hope that by the grace of the Great Architect, these fires do not repeat themselves. Beyond the loss of material things is the irreparable loss of lives; humans, animals and Nature. Perhaps people can read between lines and understand that we all can contribute to the betterment of our world weather by doing the appropriate. Especially, those industries responsible for a good amount of global warming!

May God be with you all!

Warmest regards and much love, light and blessings,

Al


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Mystique1957, thank you for your heartfelt best wishes :)

Fortunately we have now passed the Danger period for this year. There were dire predictions that this summer would be worse then last but, thank God, we have not had a repeat of 2009.

Al, thank you again for your kind words and best wishes :-)

May your God be with you and yours!


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

I came back to read this again, and wonder... how are things at this time for all those effected by these fires?


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Cathi Sutton, it is very caring of you to come back and wonder... Unfortunately things are not moving along as fast as some people might hope. Many houses, businesses,infrastructure have not been repaired to this stage.

Although the spirit of the people is strong I feel myself that there is such a sense of loss in such a large area it may take a generation to be able to say 'we have moved on' from this disaster. I will seriously consider doing a follow up Hub on this Black Time.

Thank you again for showing you are caring, it is much appreciated :-)


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Hello agvulpes,

I'm from Churchill and it was indeed a "visit from hell". I can't ever remember such a stressful day and I hope I never see another one. Even now I get mental visitations of a sky full of flames.

Cheers


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Jane thank you so much for leaving your comment. I also hope that you or anyone else ever have to go through this type of disaster ever again!

Lets hope that the Royal Commission comes up with some answers and does not just fade off into the sunset.

I certainly hope that the reading of this Hub has not upset you too much ?

Thanks for having the courage to leave a comment on how it affected you!


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 6 years ago

OMG! I knew the feeling of being so close to a fire incident. Few years back, a fireworks/firecrackers warehouse located across our home suddenly exploded. Of course it was a big fire and bang that we actually did not know what to do or where to go when debris from the exploding warehouse flew everywhere and even dropped on our roof. Luckily the explosion and fire was halted before it caused further damage to the neighborhood and left us all safe.

Thank God that you are safe too.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

Wow, That must have been a real scary thing to go through?

We have very strict rules here on where fireworks factories are permitted to be built. I guess they were not allowed to rebuild again?

The dangers from our fires are long gone as a matter of fact it has hardly stopped raining all of August (the wettest for 10 years I believe). Water restrictions are being eased. However the results of the Royal Commission held for the Fires saw some heads roll but I fear they were the wrong ones.


d.william profile image

d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

WOW. What a story. Fascinating reading. Very scary. Very sad. thank you so much for recording this event and sharing with us.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia Author

d.william, it certainly was a traumatic time for all concerned. The outcome of the Royal Commission was reassuring and some 'heads did roll' from the findings.

However even after this length of time, it will soon be 2 years, you would think that all of the people would have been resettled by now.

This has not happened and I am not that impressed with the authorities involved!

I appreciate you showing your concern and thank you for commenting :-)


salt profile image

salt 5 years ago from australia

I love the bushland out there. Its quite special. That there was no signage anywhere around King Lake etc about fire levels or number of fires was quite odd to me. I know alot of the locals say they are used to it, yet thats not the point.

It is not good to think that a fire that destroys beautiful australian bushland can then make this bushland seem unsafe or not ok. If basic safety precautions and basic fire signage etc had been taken, you might find alot of what happened may have been reduced.

I wish love and healing to all those effected by the fires and I wish all well. I did sit and wish for rain on those days. Blessings to all.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 5 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you salt for leaving such and insightful comment on this sad and for me 'gut-wrenching' Hub. Even after more than 2 years the memories are still there in my mind of that horrid weekend from Hell.

Although I was not personally affected by the fires we did have a plan prepared, just in case.

You are correct, that area was, and will be again, very special. You are also correct in alluding to the unpreparedness of the residents and the Authorities to cope with such a disaster. The Royal Commission bore out all of those misgivings!

If you recall it cost our Police Commissioner her job. I'm not sure what she could have done but I'm guessing that the Government had to have a scape-goat although her replacement does not appear to be faring any better!

As you are probably aware even after this length of time there are still families living in temporary accommodation waiting for their houses to be rebuilt!

I know it is not good to think of fires killing our folks and destroying our beautiful bushland but we must think about the 'positives' as well. Our bushland requires the fires to go through and clear the under-growth and many of the plants/seeds need this heat to germinate and regenerate our precious forests.

I will close by reiterating your last paragraph:

"I wish love and healing to all those effected by the fires and I wish all well. I did sit and wish for rain on those days. Blessings to all".


InTuneWithCooking profile image

InTuneWithCooking 4 years ago from Australia

That was a great hub mate, it brought back a lot of memories of that time. Here's hoping for a safe summer this year.


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 4 years ago from Australia Author

Yeah mate we are hoping for a safer summer but with the amount of rain and the forecasts of more thunderstorms who knows? It is maddening to think that even after all this time there are still people not sorted out. The Government needs to have a really close look at this as something smells off to me!

I know that your state is not looking all that good for the coming season, so mate take care OK :-)

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