After the high of 46c the temperature has dropped back to reasonable levels and we have had some rain. Not a lot and not very heavy but very dark overhead clouds that promised much – delivered little. Still it was rain; it was cold and it was damp and wet and it did have an effect on the fire areas and for that we are thankful. I put Benji’s jacket on and donned my rain jacket and we went out. Benji goes slightly weird when it comes to puddles. After living in a cage I don’t think he quite knows what puddles are, so he eventually jumped over the flowing spoon drain. I actually thought for a moment he was going to just stand there looking at it and I was going to have to lift him over :o) We don’t generally go walking when it’s wet so this was new to him. I mean, he’s walked over it before – every day in fact – but this time it had water in it and he’s not used to that. I did take Chienne out in the rain sometimes and with lady-like aplomb she walked right through any puddles that were in her way.
Tomorrow the temperature is due to reach 33c then back town to the mid 20’s. Apart from the Kangaroos, and Koala Bears, Australia is known for its Eucalyptus Trees. There are many
different types but the type that seems to be move prevalent is the type that sheds its bark, leaves and branches. An example – albeit a small example – is the one just down from my house, the one that I dislike. The area was cleaned up by council recently so there is not as much litter as there usually is. But you get the idea – the bark falls off the tree and collects around the bottom. and there’s your fuel all around the forest floor, that goes then the trees go. So imagine a good number of these in a forest setting !! These trees contain oil and they explode shooting the burning embers and sparks across containment lines, spreading the fire. A post or so ago I suggested that it might be time to think about how we do things in
Australia and the absolute stupidity in taking major holidays in the middle of the fire season. These last week have really brought that home and we have seen firefighters, emergency service and police organising massive evacuations rather than fighting fires. – Over 4000 people evacuated to a beach- and a good number of them were holiday people – because there was nowhere else for them to go as their town burned. We have all been praying and wanting rain to help with the fire fighting efforts but now headlines tell us that serious rain storms in the fire areas could lead to flooding and landslides because the stability of the soil may have been compromised. We just can’t take a trick it seems! Up here, well, nothing much changes. It’s been cold(ish) these last few days and this morning (Thursday) the temperature when I took Benji out was 11c. The RFDS have been arriving and departing several times a day and there was an arrival at 4am the other morning. There was an interesting short article from the Bureau of Meteorology which suggests that we are reading the forecasts wrong. I though, I would read this and gain some clarity and I did. It became clear to me that they have as much understanding of what’s going on as the rest of us. I discovered that I was more confused after reading the article than I was before I read it.
Because it has been much cooler I have been taking Benji to the Wetlands and we have been feeding the Geese and Ducks. When we arrive at the area they are nowhere in sight – I take off the backpack and next thing I see them all waddling towards us. Benji stays back as I feed the birds. Here the other birds were still making their way up. There is a little black duck that is a sort of favourite but it’s not in this photograph. The black spots on the ground are the feed -I am using sunflower seeds and they seem to like it a lot. I saw that some had moved back to the old area, so I will have to ensure that I have enough for both areas in future. I still find it interesting that the usually pushy seagulls hang back and don’t come too close to the geese and ducks.
To give some scale to what has happened here so far, The 2018 California fires burnt 2 million acres; the 2019 Amazon fires 2.2 million acres; and the 2019 Siberian fires 6.7 million acres. So far, up until this morning, Australia’s 2019/20 fires have burnt 15 million acres. To further put that into scale, 60,702 square kilometers or bigger than Denmark ( with Wales on the side) – Think West Virginia Here, we are, to a large extent,
protected in that any fire that started here would be out fairly quickly since – although we have some trees – we don’t anything like the density of woodland and forests like NSW and Victoria and, of course, other parts of SA. Yes, we have had a couple of fires here but mainly grass fires that were put out fairly quickly and a few of them were started by morons who thought it was fun. The court did too because it gave them a slap on the wrist and sent them home. The only serious fire near here is in Middleback Road and that’s about 50+ kilometers away. We did have rain here on Sunday and it started raining when I took Benji out at 6am. The rain, although not heavy, continued throughout the day. It was of some help but not as much as had been hoped for. At the moment the main (only) sealed highway between Western Australia and South Australia remains cut off and trucks are still backed up at the border or at several service stations. Life here continues much as normal and there are no restrictions. However, there is talk about how the bushfires may effect how we view holidays and if it really is in the best interest of Australia for people to be taking holidays and travelling during the fire season. Perhaps we should look at holidays in the cooler periods, Spring or Autumn. Most schools are fully air-conditioned so perhaps we should be looking at keeping the schools open during the hot weather, changing the semester dates. so that the long six week school break does not fall in summer during the fire season. But this is Australia, reluctant to change even when the reasons are slapped in your face – a very much “She’ll be right mate”attitude. What’s happened is alarming in that when fire has gone through an area,
generally it will come back again – in about 50 / 60 years. But here it’s only been 15 years since fires went through some areas and that is unusual. However, at the end of it all, nothing much will happen. The fires will eventually go out, people will discuss how we are going to tackle them in the future, and they will still be talking when the next fire season comes around. We do not seem to have either the social nor the political will to put a stop to the seemingly endless cycle – Fire – destruction – rebuild – repeat. We build houses with a Star Trek Philosophy _ “Boldly go where no one has gone before”. Oh look, a lovely, pristine landscape – we could fit 10,000 houses, roads, supermarkets etc. in this area and call it Ocean View Housing Estate.
Australia, like some other countries, has a serious problem. That problem is Queensland and the reliance of Queensland on Coal. The political party that attacks Queensland’s love affair with coal is in serious trouble when it comes to elections and votes. True the coal powered power stations are being closed down here, but there are many others across the world and a number of them rely on Queensland coal – the mining and exporting of coal from Queensland. Between the coal industry and the mining industry in Queensland we are talking about 47,000 jobs. Australia exports a staggering 370.1 Million Tons of coal a year. The loss of jobs and the destruction of the Queensland Economy and the flow-on effect that will have, does not bear thinking about.
Wednesday saw me in Adelaide. I did my least favourite thing and that is travel to and from Adelaide by coach. Had I driven down it would have meant an overnight stay and I didn’t want that, so the price for not doing that was 11 hours on a coach. Oh Joy!! I use Ryobi tools and the only supplier of Ryobi, tools, batteries and accessories in South Australia is Bunnings. Apart from which there were a few other things I wanted I also wanted a couple of large things from Bunnings but they can wait until I go down in February with the car. Fires are still burning out of control in Victoria and Kangaroo Island here in South Australia. It’s not improving at the moment. The temp today (Thursday) was 45c. Tomorrow (Friday) 27c
Thursday: January 2nd 2020. Things are going from bad to worse to catastrophic. Nearly 4000 people trapped on a beach as fire destroys their town. Royal Australia Navy ship will rescue close to 1000 people each trip using their boats and any other boats available to ferry people from the beach to the ship. This is the only way out. New South Wales has declared a State Of Emergency and close to 10,000 people are moving out of the area ahead of the monster fire. Currently 17 people are missing and there are grave fears for their safety There are serious concerns for the remnants of the Cudlee Creek fire here in South Australia that was only just contained and there is concern that it may breach the containment lines. The Middleback Road, about 30 klms from here has been closed due to fires and the two sealed roads between South Australia and Western Australia have been cut off due to fires. Nothing is moving and trucks are backed up. The Service stations and two small towns have run out of supplies, including most of the basic needs, bread, milk, water and toilet paper. I did mention that we had a thunderstorm, but as I also said, bashing, crashing, flashing but no splashing and this has been a problem since the dry storm lightening strikes started other fires. It has been cool here the last few days but it is set to reach about 44c from tomorrow. Even just writing this, it is hard not to get emotional.
I picked up young John at just after 1pm and we drove to Port Augusta. I wanted to visit better Home Supplies to get a replacement canopy for the garden swing. This,
sadly, got caught in the wind and was badly torn. I also wanted some special bouncing balls for Connor that I couldn’t get here. Visit the Arid Lands Botanic Garden for some tea and scones. Well, I failed at the canopy – there was nothing there. I tried several places for the balls without success. Then as we were leaving and heading to the Arid Lands B.G. I came to a halt at the Reject Shop and decided to try for the balls in there. Well, they did not have what I wanted but they did have something that would fit the bill – the important thing was that the balls did what I wanted – light up as they bounced. I bought one at a stall at the Carols in the Park, and Connor was fascinated by it and everyone got involved in playing with him. I only got the one, but I really wished I had bought more. Didn’t make that mistake this time and bought three. Office National was closed until next week so failed there. On the way to the Arid Lands BG, John had a look at the time and decided that perhaps it was best to head for home, so that’s what I did. But overall a good afternoon, pleasant drive, not too warm but sadly too warm to bring Benji.
Friday 3rd January:
State of Emergency in effect in NSW and Victoria. There are now 8 confirmed deaths with 28 people unaccounted for. One reporter spoke to the firefighters who said that they did not want to be looked on as “Heroes” because calling them “Heroes”overstates their ability to control the fires and downplays the long term psychological effect of fighting these fires. The road between Western Australia and South Australia remains cut off and is likely to be so for some time. In one service station some 250 trucks are stranded all loaded with produce. The Supermarkets have already warned that this could lead to severe shortages in some areas over the next few days. Emergency supplies have been dropped in to several of the roadhouses. In Victoria over 100,000 people
have been urged to leave making this the largest evacuation in Australia’s history. It is 16:00 and my thermometer is reading 48c Goodness knows what it’s like in the fire areas. I did not post any photographs of the fires. I think there is more than enough of these in the main media and on television, including the BBC. Haven’t been to the wetlands for a few days since it’s been too hot, but if it calms down tomorrow I’ll take a run out with Benji and I have bird seed for the ducks and geese. LOL notice how the seagulls stay back. —– I have been told that the Middleback Road Fire is still burning and the road is still closed..
I read a post recently and I was totally lost for words. It was about a modern day city that merely bears the same name as a city I knew and worked in over 40 years ago. But the city this lady write about is a very different city from the one I knew over 40 years ago. This is a fun place, a vibrant, exciting place and my problem is that since this is not the place I once knew, I really don’t know how to respond. I’m stumped. Perhaps some time in the not too distant future, if the fires don’t burn us all, I might try and organist a visit and see this City for myself.