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Smoke on the Horizon

On Friday, I took this photo over my back fence, looking south-east…ish. About 2.00pm, a fire started about 8 km away as the crow flies. About 37 fire units attended – that’s firetrucks and Country Fire Authority management vehicles. I looked at the trees, stuck my finger in my mouth and held it up to the wind and determined the wind was blowing it away from us. The fire area looked to be in an open grassland, according to the google map, and it wasn’t long until it was under control and the smoke vanished. Friday wasn’t a very hot day. On a scorcher, with a hot north wind, and the fire only 8 km in the opposite direction, I would’ve been packing – literally.

smoke

Looking across the farm next door. The Hereford cattle are snoozing in the middle distance.

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23 thoughts on “Smoke on the Horizon

    • Well, you know exactly what it is like Barbara. Modern technology is wonderful, at least you can find out where the smoke is coming from these days! It’s so hard to tell how far away smoke is. ❤

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  1. We hear a lot in the news about the problems with wildfires in Australia during your hot summers. I remember the fear I felt during one particularly bad summer of forest fires in my hometown … the wall of dark smoke rising in the air and the smell of smoke … watching the steady stream of water bombers.
    I empathize with you keeping a watchful eye on the sky and the direction of the winds.
    Stay safe out there … and I hope you get rain 🙂

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    • A handy thing to remember about fire – you don’t need to panic until you get hot ash and cinders around you – then you know you are really in trouble. It’s really frightening, waiting and not knowing how far away things are. As I was saying to Barbara, at least we can get on a website now and see whats where. A lot of our fires are lit by firebugs and the fires are worse because the prevention methods that used to be carried out up to twenty years ago, creating buffers around towns, are no longer done.

      Last week, we got over an inch and a half of rain in a few days, Joanne, very unusual for this time of year. And I’m sure we had a frost the other morning. 🙂

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      • Frost?! Wow – isn’t that REALLY odd for you in the middle of summer?

        It’s tragic about the cutting of preventive programs … I’m assuming this is cost cutting and not because the programs weren’t working.

        We have a similar problem with cost cutting on road maintenance in the winter. The snow isn’t plowed from the roads and salt/sand put down in icy weather with the same frequency and diligence. It creates a nightmare on our roads when the weather is bad.

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        • I couldn’t really tell if it was frost or not, Joanne, but it looked like a very like a light one – the air was frigid enough.

          As to fire prevention works, in the old days local farmers and rural fire brigades were allowed to slash and burn and plough to their hearts content on the roadsides, clearing firebreaks. You’d see swathes of burnt roadsides, especially circling small townships and hamlets. I’ve had personal experience of burning being stopped because of a ‘rare’ orchid growing in the area. Funny thing how it hadn’t been wiped out by the previous years of burning. I understand that the opinion has changed now about fuel reduction in forests, they cut back on it for years – creating the conditions for infernos that have no hope of being stopped. Fire is a natural part of our landscape. Once, a fire started by lightning would just burn unchecked until it ran out of fuel. Whole forests must have went up in flames on a regular basis. Ooops, sorry, I’m ranting! I’ll hop down now … 😀

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    • Exactly. On the north we have a forest covered ranges, so there would be a lot more rubbish blowing in the wind. All the road bitumen out front wouldn’t stop it crossing the road, but it would be enough to kill some of the radiant heat, so after the fire passed we could get out of the house before it burnt down around us. Got it all worked out, how to handle getting caught at home. 😀

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  2. Sue says:

    Sent comment the other night from my phone, it obviously didn’t come through. “Pack your bag. When the time comes to flee by the time you grab the dog, water, lap top, purse, treasures, turn off the gas, find your car keys you won’t have had time to pack. Remember the fire can whoosh over roads, houses & fire breaks in seconds.” Saw it happen at the back of the Hume weir, couple of kids were playing with matches and the fire jumped the road between 2 cars and was up over the hill in seconds.

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    • Hi Sue, I usually have a bag packed already – with important documents and stuff, but not this year. When we were new here, we were cleaning toilets when we saw a fire begin – kids playing with matches. I grabbed a ‘dry mop cover’ from the car, soaked it, instructed Mr R to fill the mop bucket with water and rushed over the road to start belting it out. The kids’ father turned up and between us we had it out before the brigade got there (the fire station was in the next street) I think the firemen were a bit put out. I’ve done fire training at Fiskville when I was part of a rural fire brigade, so I know how deadly fire can be, and how fast an ordinary grass fire can move. Don’t worry I would have been off if the wind was blowing our way. 😀

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      • Sue says:

        Remember when I was a kid we used to drive along Hume highway to Albury, there were always cows or sheep grazing on the side of the highway with moveable fences blocking them in. When they took the sheep over to the other
        side you’d wait for ages, if you sneezed they spooked and would go running in all directions – rather funny to watch. Now it is illegal, how stupid is that. Probably some genius doing a thesis on the probabilities of a sheep getting run over. Even when I learnt to drive in Albury, you had to learn how to edge your way through sheep.

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