It's hard being a Victorian right now
It has been over 40oC today, and this past few days or so, including only about half an hour ago, I have heard three fire sirens. Luckily this time I know where the fire is. I found out about one of the other ones as well, but not the other one.
My banner photo is from the Ournie fire. On Tuesday I think, my husband said that this area has now shot grass. That is wonderful, it could turn and stay green.
All along the Murray River from Albury has had fires, that is where today's fire is as well.
I think it was last weekend there was a fire between Benalla and Wangaratta at Winton North or Lake Mokoan. I had been thinking about fires a lot, and I wanted to go "home". I had been thinking about why, in my whole 46 years I hadn't had to deal with the fires that my Great Grandma had to endure in 1928. The area I grew up in (not home, but 30 miles south) in the bush, much like here, was on fire a couple of years ago. I haven't seen what it looks like after those fires.
The area I live in now had a big fire in 2003, the town in particular in a recent post. The smoke made it all the way to my home for weeks and weeks.
Then the Kinglake fires, which is the area I lived in during the last weeks of that fire, our rental home was burnt on the gate posts during the Kinglake fire of 2009.
During the Ournie fire I was wondering why the fires have been more prevalent lately. There was a large amount of grass around, people don't seem to cut it, but that could be because, here grass grows back pretty quickly. The edges of the roads uneven as well. After the Ournie fire though the Victorian side seemed to be grass free and the bales of hay removed.
However, I got the newspaper a week later, and that fire was due to powerlines they think. I think I will stay away from the privatisation issue in this post.
The fire between Benalla and Wangaratta was on a wind free day. It was in the lake bed of Lake Mokoan. A drained lake, that was reported to have unsafe grass, and mentioned in parliament and nothing was done apparently. I think the cows weren't allowed to graze there anymore.
They said also that Benalla and Wangaratta were both at risk. So much for going home. (Bill Sykes) (A man ended up killed when their fire truck rolled on the way to the fire which was still burning for awhile.)
I also was talking to my husband today about taking a radio with him tomorrow as he travels. He said that our broken arial in the car prevents him from listening to the radio in the car. So more things for me to think about to keep safe.
During two episodes though either last year or this year the transmitter went out.
During the Ournie fire I wanted to travel 1 hour West, but my husband didn't want me to. Really there is bush all around us. It is cleared around the town which is good.
The fire today is fairly near our newer house, but it is the kids that concern me the most.
Upon talking to my husband he said that basically:
1. There was a website mistake and
"The Visit Walhalla website criticises a government department for issuing a 10-month-old fire alert for Walhalla on Christmas Day.
The president of the Walhalla and Mountain Rivers Tourism Association, Michael Leaney, says state-funded Destination Gippsland has reacted by cutting links to the Visit Walhalla website."
2. Our town doesn't have a refuge of last resort.
"Just last month there were only three towns across Victoria which had designated sites which are supposed to be places of last resort in case of a fire, called neighbourhood safer places.
The CEO of the Municipal Association of Victoria, Rob Spence says a lot of progress has been made since then but there are still some high risk towns with no safer place."
My son sent me this webpage about snakes, which I felt was relevant. Made me think. I is acceptable in one way about the snakes, Benalla has a snake catcher by the way. I have had a snake in one of my houses since I have been here. I left the farm when I was 14, I don't have skills in dealing with snakes. However, it made me think that some issues have been around ever before privatisation. But people have changed a lot possibly since then which is about 1992?ish.