Gladstone on Fire

“School holidays,” he said and shrugged, he was one unhappy firey.  

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Over the last couple of weeks, several fires have been lit around town, and the resulting haze and smoke have been choking us ever since.  Added to the mix are dust storms which swept up the coast diminishing the already dim view even further, and covering us with a layer of fine dust.  This is not the sort of Spring weather I’ve grown used to up here.

On the weekend, I took the dogs for a walk over the hill where a large fire had burned last week.  The damage was incredible.  Large trees had been toppled, and while we walked, we witnessed a huge gum tree falling near the track, which scared nine colours of crap out of me.  But it was when we returned to our usual walking track did things take a much more alarming turn for the worst. 

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Someone had lit not one fire, but three, and the wall of flame that greeted us on the rim of a small hill literally took my breath away.  It wasn’t moving too fast, so we jogged off down a side track, staying in front of the fire, but desperately looking for a way around it, so we could get home.  Near the railway line, the long, dry grass had been incinerated fairly quickly, so we were able to dash across the smoking ashes to safety behind the advancing fire.  As I ran I saw a motorcycle on the other side of the tracks, and to my surprise saw the young boy stop and take a photo of me! 

I kept running til I got home, then dragged my family out to look at the fire. We didn’t venture too close, and while we were watching the fires and taking some photos as well, I saw the boy on the bike again, still taking photos.  A 4WD fire truck turned up driven by a smiling young lady, and I was able to give her some advice on the condition of the track ahead.  They disappeared into the smoke.

Little Dog was keen to get home!

Little Dog was keen to get home!

Back home we saw that a fire truck had parked at the end of our street, so I wandered over and had a chat with the driver.  He asked me if I’d cleared the bush behind my backfence and if my gutters were clean.  I had, and they were.  Giving the girls a wave he drove off to help his mates back burn. 

We watched the flames during the night when the wind changed, and our house filled with smoke.  It’s been hard enough for us, but the poor animals out there must be doing it pretty tough.  Heaven knows the trees are!  At night you can hear, from time to time, the crash and clatter of big trees falling over as their trunks give way.  The bush is a war zone at the moment.

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