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Monday, February 7, 2011

The Good News and The Bad News

The good news arrived today that my friend John and his family are okay. They survived Cyclone Yasi with no injuries to themselves, little structural damage to their house, just the rainforest their house sits in is shredded - John says it is like a logging coupe - there is nothing left of any height at all. Given that the eye of the cyclone passed right over them, they are so lucky. I am so relieved.

The bad news - is that friends of mine, friends of my children, even teachers from when they were at high school, have lost everything in the fires that raged here yesterday afternoon. It came from nowhere, fuelled by our dry bush and the howling easterly wind.

The toll just heard on the radio was 59 houses totally destroyed and another 28 with significant damage. Most people just got out with their lives (and some with their pets). Most did not have time to save much else. The fire is still not totally contained although less dangerous than before.

The first sign of trouble, pic taken by my daughter who lives 2 blocks from us.

Yesterday our house, our whole suburb was encased in smoke, with the noise of helitankers flying overhead to refill at the lake virtually next to our house. Hour upon hour these pilots worked, flying so low - over houses and past power lines. Hour upon hour our fire brigades, regular and volunteers, the staff of the department I work in (Environment and Conservation) stood face to face with the flames and the heat and the smoke. They are still there moping up hots spots.

So much lost, the only good news ... no one lost their lives or were seriously injured (possibly some pets died which is a shame). For some people the fire was upon them with no warning - they fled. For hundreds of others the forward warning SMS system moved out of their homes to safety. What could have been just like the Black Saturday of Victoria just 2 years ago with so many lives lost was avoided. It certainly was Black Sunday for many, but thankfully they have their lives.


  1. OMG what else can happen? I am so glad to hear that your friends are alive and well. My heart goes out to everyone in your country. Please please please let the devastation stop and life get back to normal.

  2. Latest news tonight is there were 64 homes lost and 29 severely damaged but the good news is that they now feel they have the fires under control. The Watch and Act order still stands for those in the danger areas and the strong winds still pose a threat in the area. I agree that although precious possessions (and possible some poor pets) were lost but no lives were lost and I guess that is what really matters. I am so glad that you and yours were safe through it all.

  3. How terrifying for them. I will never forget Black Saturday and coming over the hill near home in the car to see flames and smoke far too close to our home (about 150m!). I arrived home to find my husband hosing the house and backyard to protect from embers and the fire brigade going up our street shouting at the houses to evacuate or stay and defend.... It was absolutely terrifying, one of those moments that make you realise that it is harder to make a stay/go decision than you think because your mind is in fight or flight panic mode by then!

    I am relieved for your FNQ friends.

  4. Such a relief on one hand - and so sad on the other. It has been a summer of extremes, that's for sure. Am glad everyone is okay.

  5. I'm so glad that your Qld friends escaped relatively unscathed.

    I'm also very glad that the WA fires haven't taken any (human) lives.



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