Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bush Fires

This week has seen some horrendous bushfires in New South Wales. So far over 200 homes have been burnt down and I'm sure that number will continue to rise as this week continues. Our suburb has not been under threat of burning so far but we have experienced a huge amount of smoke from fires burning about 10 km away from us. I saw the aerial photo below on the local news website and I have edited it to show where we are living in relation to one of the major fires currently burning. 

As you can see we have the safety of a large expanse of water between us and the fire so we feel relatively safe as long as the wind doesn't carry the fires around the west side of the lake. The scariest moment for our family was probably about 6pm on Thursday as we smelt the smoke in the air and watched the thick grey plumes blow across the lake and over and around our home. We were tuned in to constant updates on the local radio station and had everything tidy and ready for power cuts so that we wouldn't be tripping over shoes in the dark if we did need to evacuate. Luckily for us that didn't eventuate.

When I woke up at 6am on Friday morning the smoke was still in the air and there was a thin layer of fine ash settled on my car. As I drove to work I had to detour past the Toronto Fire Station to collect a colleague. I stopped to take a photo of the fire station in the deep orange sunrise. All the colours were magnified and beautiful due to the smoke in the air but it was an eerie and slightly scary beauty. 
As I worked in the hospital that morning the wind picked up again and we heard sirens wailing in the distance and had to shut all the windows and doors as yet more smoke rolled in over the hospital. As I walked up and down the corridors working I could smell the smoke inside the building and felt anxious about the elderly patients I was caring for and also for my son who's school was between the hospital and the fires and was undoubtedly also surrounded by smoke. All I could do was check my phone constantly for updates on the fires and reassure myself that the smoke outside was still from the out of control fire across the lake and not a new one nearer.

Thank you to all the friends who have sent messages from overseas checking how we are. We truly feel safe at this point in time and just send our prayers in the direction of those families who have lost homes over the last few days. We also want to thank from the bottom of our hearts all the wonderful people helping to keep us safe. Particularly our local Fire Station in Toronto. It takes times like this for us to realise how lucky we are to have such brave people keeping us all from harm.

2 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. So scary... please stay safe!

  2. Yes, so scary! Please keep us updated on your situation. I am so sorry that you and others have to go through such a trial! (((hugs)))