Our fire today

In our code red world. I don't know what to say, other than it was under control very quickly. No air things were around that I knew about. I first heard the fire siren, then found where it was via my son at work, who thankfully gave good information. My husband checked the wind direction, and we got out the map. It may have come here or come out further down the road. Thankfully we didn't find out, even though it was very hot and there was a strong wind.

It is this advice we are struggling with. I wanted to leave, but the areas we would travel in are forested. In NSW they give suggestions. I am disappointed that there is still risk tonight. (Edited to say my husband heard on Wednesday via the grapevine that the fire was a false alarm, which would explain why it was OK under those weather conditions.)

From ABC Local News here. Posted 11 hours and 26 minutes ago
Updated 6 hours and 18 minutes ago

Fire authorities say a cool change that is due to sweep across southern Australia later today is likely to increase the risk of bushfires.

The catastrophic code red fire rating applies to the north and north-east regions of Victoria as well as most of the New South Wales south west...

The cool change due to hit Melbourne early this afternoon is not expected to reach north-eastern Victoria until around 9.00pm.

CFA Chief Fire Officer Russell Rees says the change is likely to be volatile, and communities need to stay on alert even after the temperature drops.

"The advice from the Weather Bureau is that this change could move in and out," Mr Rees said.

"So we could be in a scenario where the change comes and it recedes and the hot weather comes back and then it moves again.

"This could happen more than once, more or less like a pulsing movement of a change."

Mr Rees says the bushfire threat will linger, even when the temperature drops tonight.

"What we're saying is be really aware, don't assume that [because] the change has come everything's alright and relax."

On standby

The predicted wind change could bring gusts of 50 to 60 kilometres an hour to the 'code red' declared regions.

Authorities says that would increase the fire risk, especially if the change is accompanied by lightning.

The Emergency Services Minister, Bob Cameron, says authorities are on standby and are prepared for the worst.

"That means they've got aircraft to dispatch very quickly," Mr Cameron said.

"Obviously you will see large volunteer forces out in the event of a fire and that's why the CFA and the DSE have to prepare for the worst. "

Mr Cameron says people in high-risk regions need to take fire warnings seriously.

"If there is a fire that gets away that fire will be uncontrollable," he said.

"If you're in a high-risk zone the best place to be is just not there."

Victoria's Emergency Services Commissioner, Bruce Esplin, says authorities are well-prepared for the conditions.

But he is urging people in high-risk areas not to rely solely on websites and official warnings.

Mr Esplin says people need to be engaged with their environment.

"There's great technology there, but I think it's still important that every now and again people step outside," he said.

"A lot of people would be inside on a day like today with the curtains drawn, the air conditioner and the television on.

"But every now and again step outside, feel the winds, feel the temperature, smell for smoke, and listen for noise."

Mr Esplin says it is not only people in areas declared 'Code Red' who should be on alert.

"It's understandable that there's a focus on Code Red," he said.

"But severe and extreme fire danger ratings on days when fires can be very aggressive can be unpredictable.

"There's no room for complacency."


My prayers and thoughts are with you. How very odd it seems you are at risk of a fire , and I hoping our barn wont collapse under snow.
scrappy quilter said…
Linda, please stay safe. Hugs
Virginia said…
Eek! I'll keep you all in my thoughts.

Nice, cool, non-firey thoughts.
Cathy said…
Hello Linda
I did wonder how things were in yoour area - unfortunatley its not until you actually need them that you realise thigs aren't quite the way they should be. Suggestions and Instructions that is - they are open to all sorts of interpretations. Unless there was a really good reason I think I'd be inclined toleave the night before - but its all very well for me to say that, I've not been in circumstances that required a decision
The cool change arrived here - east of Melbourne along with torrential rain about 4pm. Has it made it to your house yet?
Take care
Linda said…
We had some rain in the night.

My husband was talking to me last night. He pointed out that the code red areas stretch for miles. For example my hometown is in North East Victoria, it is over 2 hours from here, we are in NE Victoria as well. Maybe I should work out how much driving would be involved to be out of the area.

I think I concluded that NSW have a much better system where they tell you the safe places to go if a fire starts, rather than "you work it out".
Belinda said…
Hi Linda,

From what I have been hearing on 774 my interpretation of the cfa instruction for those in Code Red declared areas is if you can't get out of the area altogether spend the day in a large centre/town.

I know for many rural people that would still be over 2 hrs away.

That said as the instructions for code red are to leave early in the day or preferably the night before even 2 hours in the early morning before things get too hot and hellish and back late when you would hope it had cooled a little should be doable if it happens reasonably infrequently. The problem is when it is happening every day for weeks it is going to disrupt our lives, and finances if we don't have somewhere to go, to the level of non compliance.

Kind Regards
Linda said…
Maybe also I should think about defendable space.

Linda said…
My husband mentioned the large town. Have you taken it to mean places like Wodonga, Wangaratta, Shepparton etc. Belinda? I suppose Wangaratta is too small really.

In the case of last night I suppose we would have had to stay there too. A lot of people here have doctors appointments in Wodonga and they stay with family to have them done. They could stay in Wodonga if they had too. We have no family there.

Also if something happens and the children get hurt, non compliance is an interesting word. Because parents may then have to explain their actions to social workers etc.
Belinda said…
Unfortunately I don't really know the size of those towns so I am not really sure. I am guessing by the fact that me as someone who lives in the city knows about them that all of them would probably be large towns. From my interpretation they are looking for people to concentrate into reasonably densely populated areas so that if worst comes to worst they can concentrate the CFA response around these areas thus having a much better chance of keeping people safe. As you know in Australia in emergency situations a major part of the problem is too few resources for the amount of KM's that need to be covered.

Yeah, unfortunately I chose that word deliberately and specifically. Pretty much the way I see it code red has been instigated to give people good information on how likely it is they will be able to defend their home if fire breaks out. After last year's fires there was a lot of cry's of "we had no warning it was going to be that bad". Well now we do, thus the responsibility is squarely back on our shoulders if we choose not to heed warning that the CFA doubt the defend-ability of homes in the region.

I really hope it doesn't happen to us too often but Extreme or Code Red means I will not be at home. I can't, by myself, defend our property so the only thing I can do is pack everything up and be safe no mater how heart wrenching and inconvenient that will be at times.

Kind Regards
joolzmac said…
Hi Linda

I do hope you are safe where you are from any further fire threats. It's a very nervy time of year. Roll on cool winter, eh? Then we can whinge and complain that our tootsies are too cold!
Keep safe,

Joyce said…
Hope you, your family and neighbors all stay safe, Linda. <3

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