Saturday dawned bright and sunny. The wind was high as I drove home from a friend’s house where I had stayed on Friday night. Around lunchtime checking the CFA site for incident reports was not enough and we started streaming the local Government radio station to keep up with the news. This station suspends normal broadcasting to become emergency services radio whenever there is a high risk fire day.
We were away from the fires and they were moving South West, the closest fire was not that far away but not moving in our direction so it was ok.
We live in the hills outside Melbourne, it is a beautiful place to live. The risk of living in the bush doesn’t come home to you until a day like saturday where walking out the front door was as hot as walking into a sauna. You are at the mercy of the elements, will the wind change? Will the fire then move towards you?
We left on Saturday just as the wind changed. As we drove into Melbourne the reports said that electricity had been cut in our area. As we drove the sky had a yellow tinge and the whole valley was covered with a thin veil of smoke. The wind had moved to the south and the temperature had dropped more than 10 degrees. This is the time when fighting fires is the most dangerous.
We were on our way to Tasmania for my work. We had to leave the house so the fight or flee choice was not ours to make.
The fires that are closest to our house are still burning. They are now moving North into the Yarra Valley. Friends in the next town 3km closer to the fire have noticed their neighbours leaving, everyone is worried and won’t even go to the shops without the dogs just in case.
I’m glad to be safe in another state but at the same time I wonder whether it would be better to be home and know what is going on. In this case it is definitely a matter of no news is good news.
We are very lucky we are all safe and our area hasn’t been hit, the worry certainly does take its toll though.