BLACK SATURDAY 7TH FEB 2009 NEVER FORGOTTEN

FIVE YEARS ON AND I WILL NEVER FORGOT THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES, HOMES, PETS,LIVESTOCK,FRIENDS, FAMILY JOBS AND TOWNS..THOSE WHO FOUGHT THIS BEAST AND LOST AND THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND WON..THE WILDLIFE LOST THE LANDSCAPE CHANGED FOREVER ON THIS DAY.

ONE OF OUR DARKEST AND MOST DESOLATE DAYS AND A FIRESTORM THAT LASTED FOR OVER A MONTH….

THE DAY WE ALL REALISED THAT OUR LAND FIGHTS BACK AND SHE FIGHTS HARD AND INDISCRIMINATELY ..WE HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH MORE, WE HAVE PUT MUCH BETTER SYSTEMS IN PLACE.

SUMMER ARRIVES AND BRINGS THAT HEAT AND WIND AND WE REMEMBER THE DAY THE SKY WENT BLACK THE STREETLIGHTS CAME ON MIDDAY THE SUN WAS BLOOD RED AND THE SMELL OF BURNING EUCALYPTS …A HORIZON COVERED IN A PALL OF SMOKE AND BURNT LEAVES STICKS AND BARK LANDING ON OUR PORCH AND FINDING IT’S WAY UNDER THE DOORS INTO THE HOUSE..MY ANIMAL SHELTER CATTERY BOSS OPENING UP THE CATTERY AT 9PM AT NIGHT  AFTER I RANG HER IN A PANIC , WAITING FOR ME TO BRING THE CATS IN FOR SAFETY..THE DOG’S STRESSING IN THE HEAT AND STRANGENESS OF OUR SONS HOUSE…GETTING THEM IN THE SHELTER THE NEXT DAY..PHIL AND I GOING TO THE LOCAL OVAL TO THE RELIEF CENRE ..SIGNING IN SO AUTHORITIES KNEW WE WERE ACCOUNTED FOR.PEOPLE AND ANIMALS EVERYWHERE ALL STRESSED HOT AND CONFUSED..US WAITING..WITH SO MANY OTHERS LISTENING TO THE LOCAL RADIO AND THE SCANNER..HEARING THE FIRE TRUCKS BATTLING THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE..IT SEEMED LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD..WE SAT WE WAITED WE CRIED …THE FIRESTORM MISSED OUR TOWN..SHEER LUCK, NO OTHER REASON AS WE HAD THREE MAJOR FIRES ON ALL SIDES..OUR LOCAL OVAL HAD BECOME A HELIPAD FOR FIREBOMBERS AND FIRE TRUCKS AND BULLDOZERS..HEAVY MACHINERY ..THE SKY WAS FULL OF THESE WATER BOMBERS..IT SOUNDED LIKE WE WERE IN A WAR ZONE..WE WERE LUCKY..SO LUCKY .

FACTS..TEMP 46C WIND SPEEDS 100KMPH

400 FIRES STARTED ON THIS DAY WHEN THE WIND CHANGED IN THE EVENING THE FIRE FRONT TURNED AND WINDS OF 120KMPH.

THE AVERAGE SPEED OF THE FIRE TRAVELLING WAS 12KMPH

THE RADIANT HEAT IN SOME PLACES ENOUGH TO KILL PEOPLE AT 400METERS AWAY

EMBERS WERE STARTING SPOT FIRES UP TO 35 KM AWAY

ENERGY RELEASED ESTIMATED AT 1,500 TIMES THE HIROSHIMA BOMBS

TOTAL AREA BURNT 1,100,000 ACRES

173 PEOPLE DIED 120 ALONE IN KINGLAKE

414 PEOPLE INJURED

2,100 HOMES DESTROYED AND 7,562 PEOPLE DISPLACED

IN READINESS FOR THE DAY DUE TO THE PREDICTION OF HOW THE WEATHER WAS

3,582 FIRE FIGHTERS WERE PUT IN STANDBY

5,000 IN TOTAL WERE DEPLOYED INCLUDING FROM NEW ZEALAND AND AMERICA

1 AUSTRALIAN FIRE FIGHTER WAS KILLED WHEN A BURNT TREE FELL ON HIS TRUCK.

NEVER FORGOTTEN AND ALWAYS IN OUR THOUGHTS.