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08 February 2009 @ 07:02 pm
Back! And bloody hell ...  
Am back in Sydney, where the expected 47 degrees was a merciful 32 instead. But the air is dirty with smoke, and I am hiding inside where there is an air conditioner and iced water.

Mostly I am worried about my friends in Victoria. Jamie and Mere, are you two still all right? Blindmouse, where are you? Push and feral, if by chance you read this, I know you're in town, but how are your people? I have three friends and their families out on properties in the broad rural regions around Melbourne, and have not heard back from SMSes, possibly because my phone company is crap and can take ages to deliver them, possibly because they have their phones at the bottom of their bags as they evacuate to safer ares. Nothing for it but to wait until they have time to call back, until then I'll keep fingers and toes crossed.

It is truly horrible there now, at least 65 people have died in the fires and over 600 homes have been lost. I remember the Canberra fires a few years ago, and reading about Ash Wednesday, but these fires have taken a worse toll despite the improved fire fighting and better communications. The countryside is so dry and the air so hot that there is nothing to stop them. A wall of flame races faster than any car, burning people when they are trapped inside vehicles whose tires have melted to the road. I selfishly hope that none of my friends have been touched by the devastation, but when things are so bad that the state Premier and nation's Prime Minister are both moved to tears, how is anyone untouched? 

They say that some of the fires were lit by arsonists, and are looking for the culprits. I hope that the police find them, for they will then go to trial. If they are found by the residents, I do not think their fate will be so easy.

There are birthday wishes to send and news from New Zealand, but I will make a happier post for them. For now, good luck, Victorians.
the center of the room and beyond: summer heatsnottygrrl on February 8th, 2009 08:46 am (UTC)
i didn't realise it had got so bad. am glad you are safe, i hope your friends are, too.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 08:50 am (UTC)
Oh I am a state's worth of safe. NSW has some small fires, but we have had rain in the last few months and no long runs of 40+ days. Victoria is always the most at-risk part of the commonwealth, but this is very very bad, even by Australian standards.

Thanks for the good wishes, dear, I am sending them southwards added to mine!
the center of the room and beyond: flails heartsnottygrrl on February 8th, 2009 09:06 am (UTC)
well, i meant safe as in 'home safe,' though am also glad you aren't in the burning state (and can i just say that every time someone abbreviates your state i think it is the aussie centre of pr0n since it looks like not-work-safe)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)
Snort! That's the most interesting thing I have heard suggested about NSW!

A few issues with the planes, but nothing gruesome. One of my friends was on a flight to Launceston via Melbourne that left Christchurch at six this morning, he made it to Hobart at four this afternoon after a day of disasters and should have made it into his country town about now after his friend drove down to pick him up. The poor bastard!
Potteresque Irepotteresque_ire on February 8th, 2009 08:48 am (UTC)
Jamie posted a message earlier today. I hope the other people are all right as well *nods*.

California has similar fires every year in Autumn, when the Santa Ana winds blow across the region and the air is super dry; the fire that reached the closest to my parent's place stopped just one freeway across from their cluster of homes; that was a major battle line between the fire and the firemen who fought to control it for hours; I was watching the updates online a whole country away (I'm on the east coast) biting my nails the whole time. The sky was a bright orange, the air impossible to breathe, and everything was covered in ash.

And yes, every year, at least one of sources of the fire points to arson. It's difficult to catch the culprit though because usually the evidences had been decimated. There was nonetheless a year in which a woman was found to have started the whole mess because she was burning love letters from her boyfriend ... in a country park, surrounded by trees. *facepalms*

Oh, sorry for rambling, what I wanted to say is welcome back! It's good to see your post again. :)

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 09:00 am (UTC)
Heh, thanks, Pie. It is good to be home, I just wish it wasn't to such bad news. Yes, the geography of California and Victoria is not dissimilar, and all those gum trees Australia exported to CA in the 19th century.

What a STUPID woman! I would like to take people like her, and people who throw cigarettes from cars and just smack them until they show a little sense!

I feel confident that my friends will all be all right when it comes to their bodies, they are all smart and organised and know what to do, but then there are properties and horses, and special sites that can all disappear so quickly. And fire is especially horrible … so I will just fret a little.
shadowedkit on February 8th, 2009 08:52 am (UTC)

Welcome back and goodluck to Victorians. I haven't watched the news the last few days and did not realise it was so bad. I hope your friends and families are safe.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 09:03 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kitti. I had thought it was pretty hot out on the Canterbury Plains, but Sydney managed to make me fall over on exiting the airport. Hurrah ...

Thanks for the good wishes, I send them southwards and hope that the rains come!
shadowedkit on February 8th, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
Yea Canterbury Plains can have pretty dry heat..How lovely of Sydney to give you a welcome like that.
Dunedin has gone all muggy today, however any wishes for rain is currently going up the country, crossing the sea and over to Victoria. They need it more than we do.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 10th, 2009 10:29 am (UTC)
Your wishes are working, they have had some rain with no lightning. Fingers crossed they receive much more!

The temperature got down to a number starting with a 1 today; oh happy day!
shadowedkit on February 10th, 2009 11:15 am (UTC)
Thankgod We've been raining on and off for the last two days which slightly diminishes the extreme fire risk Otago region is under, but I have constantly been thinking, go up the country!

Also glad it is no lightning- I never knew how important this was, or how often it may occur in summer storms. Hope they receive more of rain over the next week.

And yay for the temperature going down!
calanthe_fics on February 8th, 2009 08:55 am (UTC)
As usual I am oblivious to the terrible suffering of others. And to think I'm worried about a silly job! I add my well wishes to yours.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 09:13 am (UTC)
Well, it's not as though you can smell the smoke from there ... And jobs are serious business in this day and age!

But even though wishes are all we can offer at the moment, maybe they do some good.

Happy late birthday! I have porn mostly written for you, delayed by minimal power and maximal heat in the wilds of NZ. Will be drinking some more iced water and then trot over to look at the Dia-mohnds, darlink!
nahimanaemerald_dragon8 on February 8th, 2009 09:06 am (UTC)
*hugs you* I hope your friends are okay. So far mine are, I think. Some family members of friends that I'm a bit concerned about. :(
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC)
That's good news. I am sure mine are fine, none are in the direct areas that the news has described as being ablaze, and they are all very smart and capable, not the sort to stay when they are not prepared. I just haven;t heard back, which could easily mean that the mobile towers are out. In fact, that's the most likely explanation.

Good luck with yours. I hate times like these when you can only wait, and then donate a little money. I can't even give blood thanls to the stupid BSE rules. Argh!
girl; obsessed: other - b&w legscomplications_g on February 8th, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
I was just watching this on the news, it's just awful. :(

I'm glad you're back though!

And so weird, it was actually cold last night here. I was so happy! Then it got hot again this afternoon. :\
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
Good to be back, though I do love NZ. It is horrible. It felt as though it was just a matter of time until this happened somewhere, but I was hoping it would be small fires with no loss of life. This is just devastating.

There's a cold snap forecast for everywhere for the next week. I hope it comes through. I could do with some temperatures starting with 2, or even 1 ...
girl; obsessed: other - green girlcomplications_g on February 8th, 2009 09:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, I just hate that things like this even happen, it's scary.

I would love it to go down that much, sounds wonderful.
jamie2109jamie2109 on February 8th, 2009 09:44 am (UTC)
I spoke to Mere on the phone this morning and she was fine.

The phones have been in and out all day.

I am hating opening the email from the police as it always jumps the death toll. Too many...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC)
Thanks for that! It must be horrible for her with the air quality down there, hope her lungs are holding up. And yes, there is no good news at this moment. I hope that changes soon.
jamie2109jamie2109 on February 8th, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
It's raining here. We're just hoping it stays but doesn't bring the thunder and lightning with it.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 11:19 am (UTC)
I am hoping you receive a week of persistent soaking rain with no lightning!
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 11:23 am (UTC)
I have just heard that the last I was personally worried for have called in safe, which is a great relief. Thanks for the hope, if you could wish a little rain their way, it would be well received!
Robyn: chocolate treatsarobynsung on February 8th, 2009 10:33 am (UTC)
*sends hugs*
Hope you and your family & friends are alright!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)
Cheers dear. Friends are all safe, I've now heard, which is v good news. Sadly, the general news just keeps getting worse. I wish I was allowed to donate blood here, but they have stupid rules about BSE, so I will just donate what I can to the relief fund.
Wenchiladawenchilada on February 8th, 2009 11:01 am (UTC)
It is really awful being here and seeing what is going on back home...
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 11:07 am (UTC)
Just heard from Margie, they had a horrible day yesterday, but the fire missed them. All but one of the AR families have called in safe, but that family was in King Lake, so fingers crossed. Haven't heard re A & H, but their area was lightly hit according to jamie, who has been helping with emergency radio.

And, of course, it's flooding in Queensland. Why do I live here again?
Wenchiladawenchilada on February 8th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
Thankyou so much for that. We have been wondering if everyone is ok. Prayers for the last AR family. Have heard that A&H are safe.

You live there because it's an awesome country to live in. Really. It is.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Oh thanks, luv, that's a weight off my heart.

Um … The people are bloody brilliant. And I suppose the skies are magnificent. Quokkas rule, and I quite like wombats, but the majority of nature is just arse.
Meredythmeredyth_13 on February 8th, 2009 11:03 am (UTC)
Hey honey. I'm fine. We're close in near the city, so we're only affected by proximity and anxiety, and profound sadness and frustration.

It's not just a tragedy, but once again these fires are for the most part the result of arson - and I've heard that there are reports of arsonists going back and relighting fires that have been contained. I haven't had a chance to confirm this yet. Regardless - there should be a special law for anyone who can do this. The human cost is only the tip of the fiery iceberg.

I watched the fireball march into Canberra as the house we lived in was pelted with fire and ash, and had workmates who lost their homes in Duffy. I never thought I'd see quite such a disaster again, and certainly not this soon.

I'm sorry you had to come home to such a mess. I hope the folk up there in NSW are faring better.


ps. phone services are very patchy across rural areas. between power lines and phone lines going out and mobile towers being burnt out, and the stress on the networks, it's very dodgy.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
Just heard from the people I was most worried about, they are fine and have had safe calls from all but one of the extended group. I have two other friends who are on a property who we haven't heard from yet, but they have good fire plans and are very sensible and cautious people.

SO glad that you are all right, keep your lungs away from that air!

So far NSW is but little affected when it comes to people and property. But our hearts are aching for the Victorians, it's so very horrible.

I saw the Canberra fires and the Sydney fires of 93-94 (which burned down my old house, happily one I had moved out of three months before and no one had moved into), but at least with those there was a lot of warning and many exit roads. This is so very much worse. And as for the arsonists, there are no words.
Meredythmeredyth_13 on February 8th, 2009 11:22 am (UTC)
Oh, I am so glad your people are ok so far, and I hope that the others check in with you soon.

It's all just too much right now. I've donated to the Red Cross, and once my tests results come back on Tuesday hopefully I should be ok to donate blood as well. It feels like so little. Once I can get C's attention I'm going to see what of our horse gear might be of use. If any of the rescue centres are close enough I will see if I can be of use there, because nursing and managing horses is one thing I can do, if they'll have me.

Lungs are fine so far - we've been very lucky with the air quality in Melbourne. Hopefully that won't change, but if it means the affected areas are getting rain or relief, I'll deal.

Thank you for your thoughts and concern Brammers. It means a lot.
pingridpingrid on February 8th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
Mere, my dear! I hadn't realised yesterday when I commented on your post just how bad it is round your way. I've since seen pics of the fires and read more about it, and OMG, it's horrible! It's so good to hear that you're still all right.
Meredythmeredyth_13 on February 8th, 2009 11:33 am (UTC)
Thank you, darling. I'm fine, but the news just keeps getting worse and worse. Frankly, it's just getting too big and ugly to comprehend.

blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 8th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
I have the stupid BSE rule stopping me with blood. I might do my dodgy Australian accent and lie through my teeth, since I was a vegan through the whole period. Good idea with the horse rescue centres, I just hope that some made them out. Hearing people cry over their dogs and cats is just heartbreaking.

Fingers crossed for rain, and that things will be less awful than expected when they get into the towns properly.
Vaysh Swiftstormvaysh on February 8th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Welcome back, darling, even if to such a horrible tragedy. My first and only bf lives in Victoria (yes, even some Germans relocate to down under), and I have yet to hear from him and his family.

The best of wishes for you all.
pingridpingrid on February 8th, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
Welcome back! I'm sorry it's such a bleak picture to come back to. :( I hope all your friends are all right. I know it's wrong, but the dormant vigilante in me doesn't quite manage to join in your wish for the police to catch the arsonists ...
silent hallucinationalex_s9 on February 8th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
It's really a disaster. I hope everything will be alright.
Seshetasesheta_66 on February 8th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
Arsonists?! Bloody hell! Bad enough when it's an accident, but that just sets the blood boiling. Jamie just posted & I believe Meredyth replied to her post, so they're both accounted for.

I hope it's over soon and that they are caught (by residents or by their own fires).
Asta: pic ammoniteastarael02 on February 8th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oh my god... I didn't even know it was possible for it to be that hot without people dying... :-O
I had never even thought of it being so hot that tyres actually melted. I can't imagine how awful it must be.
I hope everyone you mentioned is OK, and no more people die. It's so worrying, and unspeakably sad :(
My thoughts are with everyone in Australia right now. xxx
&helena;uminohikari on February 8th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC)
D: How can people set fires when they know it's really dry
feralcheryl on February 9th, 2009 12:18 am (UTC)
Our people are fine- worried and stressed but fine.
Alan's folks are at Wandong,so they had a very stressful day. As it is in these situations, the wall of flame was streaking up their street when the wind changed direction, their neighbours were not so lucky losing their home and livestock.
Dad is fine, basically he is safe because they were so badly burnt out two years ago that there is nothing to burn.
They're still pulling bodies out of Kinglake with at least 40 people still missing.
It's horrific. Nothing to be done other than donate and pray for rain.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 9th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
So glad about your dad, even if it's for grim reasons. Bad news about Alan's neighbours, though I am relieved he Cathy and the kids are all right. All my friends are all right so far, save a friend of a friend who has lost the house, but the wife and young kids are fine, so they are much less fussed than they'd normally be in the situation. I can see why.

You were very much on the money when you said stay away from Victoria for February. I wish you were a bit less clever sometimes. The Red Cross has some of my cash, and I am telling the showers here to go south. Hope they listen.