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---Massive fires in Victoria (

-- Posted by Almirena on 8:05 pm on Jan. 16, 2007

We're suffering terribly. People have lost their lives; there have been many properties destroyed by fire; yesterday a power cable between New South Wales and Victoria was burned near Benalla, which resulted in power cuts all around the state of Victoria. With soaring temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius, this was NOT a good time - and when power was restored in some areas, the residents were asked not to use any power except for refrigerators and freezers. No air conditioning in such heat? Awful...

There are so many fires burning out of control that it's like a nightmare. I feel such sympathy for the people who have lost their homes. As always, some of the fires were deliberately lit, while others were caused by lightning. High winds and awful heat combine to make it a heartbreaking situation...

So... spare a thought and a prayer. We could certainly do with cooler temperatures, low wind and a good solid downpour for two days or so.

-- Posted by Krss on 8:19 pm on Jan. 16, 2007

That's completely terrible.. I'm very sorry to hear that. My prayers are with you, and I hope you will get rain and all weather conditions necessary to stop the disaster. :(

-- Posted by Marion on 4:07 am on Jan. 17, 2007

It's been quite the opposite here - rain for the past week or so, with today being the first entire day with no rain. I hope the clouds are moving southwards, but knowing the prevailing wind conditions at this time of the year, I doubt it. :( But here's hoping for a miracle.

edit: well I spoke too soon... it's pouring now. Sickly yellow light: storm and sunset. I love it, but I can't help and think of the glow of the fires that must be breaking out elsewhere in the world.

Storm and sunset...

(Edited by Marion at 9:46 am on Jan. 17, 2007)

-- Posted by Krss on 1:15 pm on Jan. 17, 2007

We have winter advisory in effect and the school is closed today for "inclement weather".

-- Posted by Bearic on 11:39 pm on Jan. 17, 2007

I hope those temperatures drop soon.

-- Posted by Almirena on 2:20 am on Jan. 18, 2007

This weekend is shaping up to be a "monster" weekend. The temperature is expected to reach 38 degrees Celsius, and fire authorities say that the conditions will be even worse than they were on Wednesday. (I presume the winds will increase the danger.)

Power is restored, it seems. It's a pity that we do not have air-conditioning at work, and my car's air-conditioning needs to be repaired. I've been telling myself to get it fixed... but I simply don't have the time for another two weeks - and that means driving home in a sweltering car. Since the drive home is 1 and a half hours, I don't think I'll be enjoying it.

Of course, that is trivial in comparison with the complete loss of everything that some have been facing.

So far over a million hectares of land have been burned.

-- Posted by Krss on 6:06 pm on Jan. 18, 2007

I can't imagine how the ones who lost everything they had must feel..

-- Posted by Marion on 6:34 am on Jan. 19, 2007

And floods over in SEA, pretty much doing the same thing as the fires over in Australia. And let's not forget the ice(?) storms in some parts of the US that killed several people (? because I never remember the details of the news that I read).

The whole world's going to pot! :(

-- Posted by Gijs on 7:04 am on Jan. 19, 2007

Yesterday was the first time I ever saw someone getting blown away by the wind.

-- Posted by Krss on 6:36 pm on Jan. 19, 2007

That sounds scary. :(

You should keep rocks in your pockets so that doesn't happen to you as well. :)

-- Posted by Jules on 11:03 pm on Jan. 19, 2007

Oh my goodness, Al. I hope this madness doesn't last a second longer. And to think someone started fires deliberately? I wish I could push these gloomy, rainy clouds outside of my window, your way.

What is it with these odd weather happenings?

-- Posted by Santi on 10:43 am on Jan. 21, 2007

God, that is terrible to hear. I did not know the situation was so bad: even the BBC news I check more-less regularly did not report anything about the fires.

Are there any hopes for some rain, at all?

-- Posted by Krss on 1:37 pm on Jan. 21, 2007

Yes, can you update us on what's going on?

-- Posted by Almirena on 5:03 pm on Jan. 21, 2007

In brief, there were lower temperatures, some rain - in fact in some areas of Victoria and elsewhere, there were dangerous flash floods - and the situation is... well, I'll copy the report from "The Age".

DOZENS of relieved Victorian firefighters were heading home from the front last night after the temperature plunged and rain fell.

The relief came as Sydney firefighters battled a blaze threatening homes in the outer northern suburbs.

Country Fire Authority members were pulling out of Gippsland and the area around the Tatong fire, south-east of Benalla, yesterday afternoon as other firefighters worked on carving out containment lines.

The wet conditions have cut the number of out-of-control fires across the state from 12 to three in the past few days, and allowed the reopening of the Great Alpine Road and Buchan-Ensay road in northern Gippsland.

In Sydney, a fire at Mt Kuring-Gai was last night threatening homes and the Hornsby-to-Gosford rail line. Flames had leapt over the F3 freeway, forcing its closure, and helicopters were water-bombing the fire.

Victorian CFA state duty officer John Athorn said two strike teams of about 28 firefighters each were leaving Tatong in the hands of local CFA members and full-time Department of Sustainability firefighters.

There were also two teams leaving the area around Swifts Creek and Brookville in northern Gippsland.

"We've still got some resources kept on the fire line as far as trucks are concerned," Mr Athorn said. "For a week we'll keep something like 20 firefighting appliances in the Gippsland area and we'll keep 10 up in the Tatong area, the reason being, if anything starts up and we have to ramp up, then we've got trucks there and all we've got to do is get crews in there from anywhere in the state."

But Mr Athorn said the rain had given firefighters hope that they had broken the back of the fires that have burned well over 1 million hectares of the state.

The Tatong fire is still listed as one of the three "going" fires and has consumed 33,000 hectares. The smaller of the other two, the Hermit Mountain blaze, is still burning out of control in rugged country near the NSW border, but the threat to the ski resort of Thredbo has lessened with the rain.

DSE incident controller Rob Caddell said that while the rain was welcome, all fire crews near the Hermit Mountain blaze had been pulled from the fire line as slippery conditions made it unsafe.

"The rains have allowed us to consider planning a direct attack on the fire edge for the remainder of the week," Mr Caddell said. "A direct attack would save thousands of hectares being burnt via back-burning operations."

Firefighters are also using the conditions to try to shackle the third "going" fire, the massive Great Divide South blaze, although there was less rain in Gippsland than in other parts of the state. The area around Swifts Creek and Brookville is the main target of the containment efforts, with the humidity and cool temperatures allowing a direct attack on the fire, rather than just trying to defend against it.

DSE spokeswoman Pauline Clancy warned against complacency. "We are still in for the long haul. You've still got those three fires actively there and burning and there's still a major job to be done," she said. "We're still in drought, one rain event doesn't break the drought. Not by a long shot."

-- Posted by Krss on 5:16 pm on Jan. 21, 2007

It's very good that there was rain and most of the fires have been put off. I hope the remaining three fires are also beaten very soon..

-- Posted by Almirena on 4:30 am on Jan. 23, 2007

The fires are being contained so far, which is very good news.

On a more sober and bizarre note, one country Victorian town has actually run COMPLETELY OUT OF  WATER. The residents are blaming the council for not telling them how grave the situation was.

These poor people could not flush their toilets, take baths, have water to drink...

-- Posted by Krss on 9:47 pm on Jan. 23, 2007

That's terrible.. Reminds me of my childhood.

In communist times, Romanian villages mostly had water from wells and in city apartments with running water, cold water was shut off regularly and hot water was a rarity. When that happened, people had to carry water in buckets from the marketplace or some small source somewhere that didn't get shut off. Because I lived on the 9th floor we ran out of water more often than the lower floors because it all got used up on its way.

We took baths only once a week, and showers were out of the question. During the week, we washed ourselves partially in basins. To be able to take a bath you needed to catch the time when a TV show everyone watched was on. Then no one else took a bath and you could. Of course, you had to rush through it because you also wanted to watch the show.. :)

-- Posted by Jules on 10:15 pm on Jan. 28, 2007

I'm glad you don't have to go through that anymore, Krss.

We didn't have plumbing until we moved into the house my parents currently live in. I don't remember much of it because I was three when we moved.

A couple of Christmasses ago we had a heavy snow storm that partially melted the next day. That night, EVERYTHING looked like an ice forest. The flexible birch trees bent in a complete 180 without breaking. Trees collapsed and fell from the weight of the ice on the roads which made them completely impassible. Our power went out for three days which meant no running water, nothing. By the second day the outside seemed warmer than the inside. It stayed below freezing for a very long while. But, that seems like nothing compared to what you've experienced, Krss.

It makes you realize how dependent we are on technology.

-- Posted by Krss on 11:26 pm on Jan. 28, 2007

Actually that sounds very scary, Jules! I can't imagine how bad it can be to be three days in a frozen house with no power or water. You can't even melt the snow if you don't have power..

And yes, we are dependent on technology.. But there are many people who live very well without it.

-- Posted by Jules on 10:16 pm on Feb. 4, 2007

It would be interesting to live with them for a few days. It would teach my boyfriend to not waste water and to turn the lights off after leaving a room! *grins*

-- Posted by Krss on 10:25 pm on Feb. 4, 2007

I've recently seen a movie called The Gods Must Be Crazy. :) It's a movie, but it focuses on the life of bushmen. It's a great movie, I recommend it.

-- Posted by Almirena on 11:29 pm on Feb. 4, 2007

I've seen it and enjoyed it, too. *smile* It was particularly interesting because I was studying linguistics at the time when I got hold of the video, and my aural exam included making some of those clicking sounds as well as describing them la "labio-dental fricative" blah blah blah blah...

I could NOT make one of the sounds indicated on the card during the aural. I tried... I tried... and then with tears in my eyes I said, "Would it be acceptable if I just DESCRIBED the sound phonetically?" The examiner luckily said yes... and I managed to ace the exam. But to this day I feel the humiliation of not being able to make some dreadful sound that resembled a goat getting ready to spit.

-- Posted by Krss on 1:25 am on Feb. 5, 2007

They do seem very hard to make for untrained throats. :)

But part of an exam, how interesting!

a goat getting ready to spit


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