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Hot times in the old towns...
Half the N.Coast and hinterland of NSW is alight and similar areas in south east Queensland.
So far 2 dead 5 missing 100 houses burnt out,5 to 7 towns under pack up for evacuation notice.

'Only' 50 fires burning (we had 200 at once a few years ago) but of the 50 around a dozen are threatening settlements and outlying farms  and we've simply run out of volunteer man hours to fight them.  Poor buggers are exhausted and it's too dangerous to send tired people in to that kind of danger.  So other than major urban threats the fires have to be just let go.

They'll stop when they reach the ocean, christ help anyone between.

Everyone in the danger zones have been told to get out and that it's up to them.

The townsfolk inland have the evacuation proceedures well practiced but it's unusual to have fires at this intensity so near to the coastal fringes. But the drought has been a long and bad one and even these comparatively 'lush' regions are tinder now.

It's highly unlikely that will be any Greenies seen out in public for a few months.  The intensity of the fires are down to their opposition to winter fuel reduction burn offs.    The bastards should be rounded up and sent out to fight the resulting fire storms.

But NONE of them join the volunteer brigades. At least no brigades reply to the question "are there any Greenies in your crew?"   The Greens just tell others what not to do from their air conditioned digs they don't go out save the Koalas they use as "save the environment" poster pics.

Well over 100 koalas have died in one of these fires which has burnt through a protected forest dedicated to their use to build up their numbers.  

They were the ones who've been free of the candida virus killing so many in other places.  These were the breeders of the future of the species!    Dead now. 

Thanks to the very enviro pixies who stopped the fuel load in their protected habitat being reduced to a level they could have survived.


I'm watching a live feed from some of the areas, interviews with volunteers taking a break and there are a lot young women in the crews,  one I just heard had a distinct Kiwi accent others had various colours cultures and accents.  The common factor is that most are mothers,  out there doing their bit to protect their kids and homes along with their men. 

We may not be jingoistic about our troops but we're very proud of our volunteers, who turn out for fighting fires, or rescuing cyclones victims or whatever.  Oz operates on volunteer labor in times of disaster, as do other nations I suppose.

I hope they're as proud and grateful for theirs as we are of and to ours.
Update: 78 fires now, 40 uncontained, 4 immediate emergency. Another 50 homes added, total lost now 150.
Death toll still only 2 (One burned in his car and one woman burned while "sheltering" was discoveredwith 60% 3rd degree burns and has since died in the hospital.

The fires which have already been through and burnt down everything they reached are just being downgraded and left to go. Wast of manpower when they're heading out into scrubland where nobody lives.

There's one around 10 Kms N.W. of Cuz's place but if the wind holds it will pass north of him by a few kms. fingers crossed. No ones fighting it yet as there's only a couple of homes out there in the hills so until it gets closer to the coast they just send a chopper out to watch how fast it's moving and the direction. He'll be okay though, he's dozed 100 meter wide fire break around his house and has the water hoses set up onto the dam pump. He's got no cattle on it at the moment so no livestock worries. Only the bird aviary and 2 house parrots to worry about.

Good stories from people who own pubs and motels who have been picking up people from the marshalling points and putting families into whatever accommodation they have spare free of charge. One motel has been clearing out it's storeage building and setting up spare beds and furniture in there to use it as a bunkhouse as they're full now.
We've been seeing plenty of those stories - ugly, ugly stuff.

And it's not even real summer yet.
Love is... that one person whose freshly-warm toilet seat you don't find disgusting.
Oddly enough it's quite cool by normal standards when these kind of fires gear up. Not even hot westerlies behind them.

The fire chiefs have their work cut out for them because the wind keeps changing direction! Realy odd stuff.

There are fires travelling in all directions. No one can burn breaks or get the equipment to the right spots because the course plotted can change with the wind and by the time they get there it's headed off at right angles and all the warning have to be rebroadcast.

There's around 10,000 people who've left their areas, as advised and from experience, and they're not allowed to go home until everyone's sure the fires won't turn again. They're being housed in hotels and motels and friends and strangers houses and those who can't get out, like in Old Bar have carted their stuff down to the beach and are sitting it out there. The fire came within scorching distance of the houses when the wind veered it off a bit. I haven't heard if they're still on the beach or if the houses burnt or not.

The death toll is low at least, only 3, but 7 or so 'missing'.

I know people in a couple of the towns, although I've been out of touch for a few years. A couple in Old Bar and an old workmate in Coutts Crossing. Other towns I know pretty well through holiday trips. It gets more real when it's happening in familiar places.

Check out the video taken from a fire truck. The crew has driven up from Sydney to help out so don't know the area all that well but .. they did it anyway. Christ, are they cool or what??

Scroll down to the 2nd video unmute it.
The weather report "indicates that next Tuesday, will be a particularly hazardous day for threat of fires, hot winds, low humidity and high temps are forecast"  ...oh really?  Like it hasn't been fire weather today?

There's a couple of plane loads of fireys on the way from South Australia and the air force is going to fly some their equipment over so that'll give our locals a break.  Only 1300 have been trying to save towns and houses.

I notice they've got one of those big Yank water bomber choppers in action, best things America has sent us since MacArthur.   Heart

Reeespect for the crop dusters and little chopper pilots too. They can't carry much water, some of the choppers look to be barely able to carry the 'buckets' but they're doing it, flying blind through the smoke, and dumping it around farmhouses, I presume on GPS. Heard a few radio callers thanking them for saving their homes. "they just appeared out of the smoke.."

Hats off to you fellas.
Update.  They got the temps and wind directions wrong but they weren't wrong about it being a baaad day.

I was wrong about Cuz's place being out of danger. dead wrong!

I haven't heard from him Friday so thought everything was tickety.  No warnings issued about his location. Fires still 20kms  away.

I'd barely staggered out of bed this morning when I heard his truck pull in.  It was his wife, with a suitcase and a cage with her two parrots in it.

Seems they've been putting out spot fires since Friday night and taking it in turns to grab a nap.  She looks as though she's missed a few!

She showed me a video of Cuz standing in front of their house doing his Churchill impersonation "We shall fight them on the beaches ..." and she panned the camera around 360 degrees and the house is completely surrounded by burning hills 1/2 a km away!  the only gap happened to be where the gate and road out is so he told her to run for town while she could and he's stayed to do what he can to keep it away from the house paddocks. He hasn't lost his sense of humour, but  faaaarrrrk. Confused

He's slashed it (the pastures) all to ground level and dozed a break so that's about all that could be done.
The brigade informed him they won't be coming out that far, he's the last farm on the road, as the town is in the path of one branch of the same fire and they have to protect the houses.. fair enough,  there simply aren't enough fire trucks or people to cover the fronts so they're just concentrating efforts on the towns now.

He's still got 12 cows with calves on agistment there and herded them into a paddock that's already been burnt out but it has a bit of water in the dam so they'll be okay.   Hungry, but safe.

Their next door neighbour turned up here too, her husband has stayed on the property to see if he can save his macadamia tree plantation.   I don't like his chances.

She brought two dachshund dogs with her so my place was full of 'wildlife' this morning.  The parrots were flying around as they were panicking in their cage and wanted to go 'to mamma'.  She's been walking around with them attached to her.  One perched on my head for a while but I'm not their 'mamma' so it flew back to her.  They're only little ones Quarrians, I wouldn't be letting a cockatoo get near my head.
Then the dogs were sniffing around the place. 

Anyway my visitors were on the phones and found a motel still with spare accom just out of town and they agreed to take in the dogs due to them being 'refugees' and they've gone down there. 

I could feed them all but have no beds to offer, just a short lounge and a recliner so the motel is the best option.   Lucky to find space in one!  It's a dive but any port in a storm.

The radio and TV reports are hours behind the action,  the "bush telegraph" is faster, everyone knows someone out of town and we get the stories passed around.

I've just seen the first notification that the one at Cuz's is "get out" level, it's been blazing away since Friday but they're only just issued a warning on it.
They're telling people to leave Congarrini too ....  which the fires have already been through!  

It's all moving too fast for them to keep up.  The cleaner tells me that it's reached Bowraville and taken a few houses there but it doesn't get a mention on the coverage.

Another 'miracle' story from there. Cuz's mate was hosing down his house but could see smoke coming out from under the roof so gave up on it and headed for the tractor shed to try and save some equipment when he heard a chopper overhead.   It appeared out of the smoke and dumped a bucketload of water fair on the house!

It came back 10 minutes later and gave it another buckeful and vanished again.

It saved the house!  Probably not his furniture, but the house mattered more... and he saved his sheds.  Good story.

  Seems it pays to know people.  The son in law of a mutual mate of him and Cuz remembered where they were and as he's a brigade controller he sent a chopper out to check on the Congarrini mate and arrived there at the exact right time!  The old mate is dead but he left a great son in law behind.

There's at least 5 farmhouses in Cuz's area burned out, but other than his immediate neighbours they don't know much about anyone else.

One neighbour 2 farms down,  had the fire rip across their property in an almost straight line, just 100 metres from their house.  It ripped through and vanished back into the scrub before they could do much at all. 

It must have been  scary as there are two old women in the house, one wheelchair level and the other close. Panic stations there for  a while, but they're all okay and the house is still standing.  "It came out of nowhere!" they say.  There's so much smoke around that it's impossible to tell where the fires are until you hear them and by that time they're too close!

I've screencapped a map of the area with Cuz's location so if anyone's interested I'll PM it... I don't like to pinpoint people on open forums,  call me paranoid. 
That's getting involved in the action!

Glad everyone's ok.

I see they're predicting 90 kmh winds. That's not going to help.
Love is... that one person whose freshly-warm toilet seat you don't find disgusting.
They've actually apologized for getting some of the predictions wrong. We forgive them for the winds though, hard to tell where they're coming from for 5 minutes at a time. There's another Southerly creeping up the coast but no ones making estimates on how strong it will be when it gets here.

Those 90km ones didn't eventuate, luckily, the story is that the smoke was so thick it damped the wind speed ... and no I don't buy that either. They just got it wrong. but wrong the best way.

That fire at Cuz's has been downgraded from emergency in last hour or so, but that probably means that it's moved through the farming valleys and on into the State forest hilly country where it can burn away and not bother anyone. They'll watch it until it gets close to the coast again.

So far the combined fires, just along this stretch of coast, have burned out approximately 1,000,000 hectares. 10,000sqkm/3861sq miles in 3 days. Just as well its a big country 'cos they've got a long way to go yet before they go out.
Glad to hear your Cuz is okay after all that.
"as the pope, i nominate grayman for sainthood.." - stanky
me too, Di. Your cuz is one of my favorite humans.

As per the heroes, i agree.

bittersweet to say, but disaster brings out the best in people.
Like J.T., i've seen fire and i've seen rain.
They can both fuck you up.

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