Date: 23 January 2006 04:29:59
So, I just heard on the radio that there were over 480 fires across Victoria over the weekend, 50 are still burning, and one of the largest was DELIBERATELY LIT! I cannot even BEGIN to tell you what I think of arsonists! I grew up in a country area, on 25acres of bush, and have had times of being evacuated ... the closest fires have ever made it to us was 3km's away, but the whole district was out fighting, and the smell and feel of the air stay with you forever. Even now I live in the city but near the bush, so even the slightest hint of bushfire smoke in the air (and it smells different to houses or cars or rubbish burning) will send my mind rushing about, working out what to get out first, what stuff gets taken to my brothers house, do I know where all the photo albums are, etc. My parents are both in the local bush fire brigade, and have spent many a summer day and night fighting fires .... I honestly cannot even think what goes on in the head of an arsonist. One of the most memorable photos of them that we have has mum block from head to toe and full of adrenaline, ready to go, and dad, spotless, looking like he's about to drop down and fall asleep right there on the floor. It was taken at 7am as they came back in from 12 hours fighting fires in the foothills of the Blue Mountains - mum had been running around setting fire breaks and hauling hoses all night, and took ages to come down from the adrenaline - dad, as one of the few with the right licence, had been driving the fire truck all night, in the dark, through the virgin bush, dodging trees, fires, wombat holes, cliffs etc - took him another two days to get back to normal.
My prayers are not only with the families in Victoria (and Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia) who are in danger - but also the 4000 firefighters currently on the ground - and especially the family of the water tanker helicopter pilot who was killed in a crash this morning as he was attempting to refill his tanks.