Sunday, September 20, 2009

Preparing for another fire season

It's time to get on the roof and clear the gutters, clean up all the leaf matter and remove all potential fuel.
Yes I live in the suburbs but this years horrific fires got close enough and affected enough people near and dear to me that I won't take a single chance.

This shot was taken on the high side of the road near my house during the long weeks of 40+ temperatures and ferocious winds. I don't think I'll get over it for a long while really. I had the creeps all week before Black Saturday. I remember the fires in 1983, there was ash falling in our backyard pool, 3 people died and many many friends were evacuated from their homes.
So it hit with force on February 7th, I was at home and the children were visiting their grandparents in an area totally obliterated by fire in the 1930's. Up on a mountain with only one twisty mountain road to escape.

It took the entire day - I thought it best to follow recommendations and stay off the road, so I stayed at home glued to the emergency radio broadcast, CFA website and television. I had enough by late afternoon and decided to go and get the children (grandparents were happy to stay at the time), when a new blaze started close to me. I couldn't believe I was in more danger in the suburbs than they were in the bush - well at that point at least.

What a long two weeks that was - but most of my friends in dangerous areas had good plans and left in time to be out of danger - which is NOT when you see smoke by the way. The plan this year is to pack up the important stuff, provide my place for a refuge to my friends on the mountain if need be - move further away to another friends place should it get hairy here.

So up onto the roof again for me, clear those gutters, rake those leaves and consolidate the plans. I'm at the foot of the mountains and it's a beautiful place to be - I'm not going overboard, suburban Canberra should be a reminder to those on the outskirts of the fire prone areas.