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My bushfire experience

Posted by cait1 VIC Aust (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 15, 09 at 17:40

(I had written this yesterday but my internet connection keeps failing so I could only post this today, my Monday. I want to thank Ms Sunshine for her last post on the thread she started where she asked how we all 'Down Under' - read that as 'H E L L' (LOL) were doing)

Today is Sunday, the 15th of February. A week and a day ago, the fires began. There is still what is called back burning going on in my and other areas and the air is heavy with smoke. I cant see the mountains outside my front window for the smoke. But, as of today, there are no alert messages and it seems no towns are in danger of any of the fires that persist. There are still awareness messages from the Country Fire Authority, CFA, and Im hoping and praying they dont get upgraded.

As some of you may know I commented in one of the threads that we were having a week of blistering heat staring around February 1st. Temperatures were hitting 110+. Late in the week the weather reports showed we would cool back down to the 70s and I even talked about how Id take advantage of the cool weather and work on my mosaic bench.

Saturday, February 7th, was the hottest day; around 117. We were sitting inside with the curtains drawn, watching Fox News. At around 4 in the afternoon, I noticed our living room turned a strange orangey color. I looked through the curtains and saw my garden and the mountains beyond reflected that orange. There was a huge cumulous cloud forming over the mountain and some kind of cloud formation happening above the house but that was obscured by the wide eave that overhangs our front porch.

I went outside and looked around. There was still a patch of bright blue sky to the north of us and coming from behind the house a thick, eerie, orange-black cloud was hanging. I got my camera and started taking photos. I called my girlfriend to ask her what was going on and she said they were reporting fires in Kinglake. That town is about 12 miles northwest of where I am in Chum Creek. I did not feel in danger at all at this point. Actually, I was rather fascinated by the cumulous cloud rising over Mt St Leonards, which was billowing at an extremely fast rate. I had been praying for rain and was hoping this cloud would open up and release all its water on my parched garden.


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I was in and out of the house after that. It was too hot to stay outside, but too hot to do anything other than be on the puter or watch TV. I was also in contact with my girlfriend who was keeping close tabs on the fires in Kinglake because her daughter lives there. My friends daughter had just had her home constructed there and had moved in around Christmastime. Sometime around 5 I decided I needed to water around the house. I still wasnt thinking that fire would hit our area, but the heat from what I thought of as distant fire was being felt here. From the window in the room where my computer is I could keep an eye on the smoke cloud coming from Kinglake. That window points to the Kinglake area.

At around 6 I checked out that window again but this time there was a very weird black fire cloud rising behind two houses back of mine. Now I was starting to get nervous. I went outside to have a better look. I spoke with DH and he said he didnt like it. I went in to call my friend to ask her if she had heard anything or could see what was going on. She lives on a hill in Healesville and from her veranda she has a 180-degree view of the entire valley northeast of us. My house is actually west of hers but I thought she might still be able to see what was going on. She starts yelling that there are fires all over and that I needed to get out.

Panic button was pushed. I started yelling out for DH who I couldnt find anywhere. He was in the garden. I started grabbing a few things, a towel, DHs watch that was on the coffee table, went to turn off the computer and saw Trygg so picked him up to take with me. Yes, Kirk et al, Trygg the troublesome Troll came with me!! And then, before I left the house, I said prayers that no harm would befall it.

We mostly use the side entrance to go in and out of the house. That is where the carport is. I stood there for a moment and looked toward the back of the property at the smoke. I could hear the roar of the fire. I rushed toward the car in the drive. On the road in front of my house there was car after car heading out of our area. At the same time we were getting into our car to leave, my neighbors on both sides and behind me were getting in their cars. There was this mass exodus of our community all at the same time. Up the road, in the opposite direction we were travelling, there was a mass of thick, charcoal smoke screening the view in that direction. As we approached the end of this street there was a fire truck and police car but they werent really directing traffic or anything. Many of the cars started to head into Healesville, which is about a five-minute drive from Chum Creek, but I told DH that I wanted out of the entire area. There was smoke coming from Mt Riddell in Healesville and more plumes around that area and I wanted to be far away from all of it. We drove through the valley and could see a fire in one of the vineyards. We stopped two towns away from the valley in a town called Lilydale to go to the supermarket to buy dog food and some food for us. We sat in the parking lot for a long time and could see that a fire had started near there, too. A car pulled up near ours and it was one of our neighbors. We spoke with them for a while; they were heading to a friends house. We were told that a relocation area had been set up at Lilydale Lake and we could go there. We did. Unfortunately, that was not where the relocation area was and a few hours later we heard on the news that it was this other park in Lilydale so we went there, registered with the Red Cross in case anyone was looking for us, and we were given accommodation in a hotel.

The next day, Sunday, we went back to check on the house. As we drove through the valley toward home there were only a few plumes of smoke rising over the mountains. The sky was relatively clear and the road fairly empty. When we reached Healesville we could see some people on the street and it looked like any other Sunday morning. We turned off the main street onto the road that lead to home. I was feeling sick to my stomach with nerves as we rounded the bend that is just before our set of houses. And then I see my neighbors house. And my neighbors house next to that. And then there is our house. Perfect. Nothing. We were spared. Our prayers were heard and answered.

Once inside I started packing some essentials. We would be staying at DHs nephews house until who knows. We called a few people to let them know we were okay and our house was still standing. I watered the pot plants. I did not want to stay any longer than I had to. I knew I was forgetting things but I was too nervous being in the house to think. There were still fires around and that was the major thought in my mind. I kept checking out the windows to see if there were smoky plumes outside.

We hadnt seen any news until we were at the nephews house. Until then we had only been listening to radio where callers were asking if anyone knew where whoever was. It was very sad. Thats when I decided to check the GJ site because I knew someone might have heard about it and would be wondering about me and I didnt want to have any of you wonderful people worry.

We didnt come back to the house until Tuesday. DHs nephew took us. One of the things I had forgotten to pick up on Sunday was all our important papers including my passport. From the valley I could see that the fire activity around our area had INCREASED! I was so dejected. I thought it might have slowed down by then but it was worse.


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Before we went to the house we decided to drive to Hodges Road where we knew the fire had been. It was from there that the strange, whirly, black plume was coming on the Saturday we fled. It was another of those surreal moments where your mind cant grasp what the eyes are viewing. To the left of me was a colorless, black and white scene of a burned out forest. To the right were houses, roses still flowering in the gardens. As we drove down the narrow, dirt road we were all stunned by the miracle we were witnessing. This road is barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other, and yet the fire stopped at the curb and never touched any house directly across from it. Further down the road we began to see a house or a shed burned to the left. But then the fire seemed to have stopped again at another property that just a couple of months ago we had gone to for a garage sale. The fire literally stopped at this houses driveway. The only time the fire jumped the road to the right side was toward the end of the road when it became basically forest. Very wild.

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Once at the house we started watching the helicopter water bombers working furiously to take out the fire that had started up on the hill directly across the street. Ugh! DH and nephew watched mesmerized. Ugh. But I did get my camera to take pictures because DH loves flying. He used to have a flying real estate business. He would fly prospects over the agricultural land they were thinking of purchasing.

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Im very glad we didnt stay because after that it seems the fire worsened. Today one side of the hill is burned out and I would have really freaked had I been watching flames bursting on a hill just across the street of me.

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We returned again on Thursday. There was a town hall meeting where we were told we were in no danger and that there was mostly back burning going on. Most people at the meeting werent really buying that information. I wasnt. A huge issue was that people wanted sirens to be sounded off if there was an imminent danger.

I need to explain bush fire policy here. Everyone who lives in the country towns needs to have a bush fire procedure in place. People have the choice to stay to protect their property or to leave. We are supposed to be alerted as to when to implement our bush fire plans. Except people complained about the sirens calling them noise pollution so there arent sirens that go off anymore and you either have to listen to the radio to find out what to do or check the CFA website. Neither of these is as immediate as a siren going off. At the meeting a woman asked if they would be sounding sirens. The council representative said they were not going to tell people what to do so they needed to implement their own plan and if they were going to sty, then they fight, but if they were going to leave they needed to do so immediately. The audience sat there scratching their heads because that was the most stupid answer anyone had heard. Later someone asked again if they would sound a siren and the idiot gave the same answer and their was grumbling in the audience but the guy with the mic quickly turned the to another topic. Finally another woman asked the same question as the council guy started to give the same answer, this time sounding ticked off, the woman interrupted him and said he wasnt understanding the question at all and she went into a lengthy explanation saying we wanted a siren because that would be the quickest way for us to know it was time to implement out plans. She went on for about 5 minutes which was the longest any of us were allowed to speak. After she was finished, the council rep took a moment, then simply said, "No. There will be no sirens." The expressions of disgust that rose from the crowd a whole bunch of people got up and started leaving.

As we drove home from the meeting I could see fire raging on one of the mountain tops. That was the first time I saw actual fire in our area. At home I couldnt see the fire from my front window but I could see the red glow. Needless to say I barely slept. At around 8 in the morning, Friday, the phone rang and it was another girlfriend of mine saying that there had been a fireman at her door and that we should evacuate. About 5 minutes later DHs nephew called and said we had to leave and DH told him that we had heard and were already on our way back to his place. One of the controlled burnoff had gotten out of hand when the wind changed direction and there were live embers falling on Healesville and Chum Creek where I live. Our car was covered with them though they were no longer alive. We returned later that afternoon after the threat was downgraded but returned to the nephews house that night so I could sleep peacefully. Then we came back yesterday, Saturday, and I had a very bad nights sleep because at around 1 in the morning the smell of the fire changed. It wasnt woody anymore like a campfire but more like plastic burning. Or maybe tires. My internet was down again so I listened to the radio and they said no town was in danger so I went to bed, fell asleep for a couple of hours, then woke again because the smell was that bad. I listened to the radio again and the report was that there were no towns in danger so I went back to bed and slept for a few more hours.

And so its now, 3:20 in the afternoon. Ive been writing this since this morning. The sky is still hazey, theres no smell in the house though there is outside, the sun is shining on the garden, and still no chance of rain.

This is the current awareness message for my area:
"Maroondah:
Fire activity including controlled burning is present in the Mount Riddell and Mount Juliet areas East of Healesville. No properties are under threat and residents can continue to expect smoke and flame activity from these fires.
Crews are currently patrolling and blacking out the fire edge in the Donnellys Weir vicinity.
Controlled burning in the vicinity of Narbethong and Toolangi will continue today. Residents in these areas may experience smoke and flame activity, however no properties are currently under threat."
Im west of Healesville. Donnellys Weir is in between us and Healesville, and Narbethong and Toolangi are just a bit north of us. Well be getting fire crews in from New Zealand and the US today to help with these fires.

There is no care for the welfare of the people in the state I live in and I blame it on the fact that this state has been under the equivalent of Democrat rule for ages. Democrats here are called Labor. A faction of Labor are the Greens Party. And its the greenies that have been systematically increasing our risk of bushfires for the last 15 years, probably more, with draconian policies that have virtually wiped out all rights of the property owner and have scared the state government into practically abolishing controlled burns of the forest floors.

And then theres this tragic news in the papers today. A senior emergency services source confirmed that the triple-0 (911) phone line was going unanswered during the crisis on Saturday the 7th, preventing people from reporting new fires, and that CFA internal radio and paging services, and emergency notifications on CFA and DSE websites were clogged and inadequate.

I spoke with my girlfriend yesterday and we are going to go after out green council with both guns pointing. She already managed to get her name in a newspaper article this past week because she had written to the council in November warning them that there policies were creating a serious threat to the welfare of residents here. 14 people died in our shire. Fortunately none in Healesville or Chum Creek, though, Chum Creek had 36 homes lost to the blaze.

As for my garden parched and dying after the extreme heat from last week and probably the mass amounts of smoke choking the plants. But Our Lady surely came to our aide and protected our property. I do count my blessings.

Thanks to all of you for reading such a long diatribe. It actually has been quite theraputic. And thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. Its not over yet. Fire season is all summer long so here were all praying no more 100+ days. There are so many areas that have been spared from these fires and people are still a bit nervous. Also, Wednesday seems to be a day when the north wind might blow so people are geering up for that. We may have more fires starting. There was one yesterday in another town but they managed to douse it.

Again, thank you ALL!!
I LOVE you guys!!
Cait


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My bushfire experience

What a horrible experience to have gone through. But Thank the Lord all ended well there...God Bless you and your family....


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RE: My bushfire experience

Oh Cait,

I'm so glad that you are ok and that your home was spared. After reading what it has been like down there along with what was on the news here, I can feel how scarey it all must have been. I hope that the weather works for you and there are no more serious fires. I can't imagine how horrible it must be to have so much devastation. I have never had to endure anything like that.

~Micki~


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RE: My bushfire experience

Oh Precious Ms Cait:

Thank You So very very muches for the nice and informative
letter with/ pics to let us try to understand what you are
experiencing !

*** Oh you poor little Dear !
This must be extremely hard on you... I can't even begin
to imagine... and I have a BIG Imagination ! ! ! HUGE!
But...
this takes the cake... it is just quite another
thing... to even try to believe...

* * * You are a wonderful writer... as I have told
you before... when you were writing the stories to
us re: Your Magical Royal Garden ! ! !

* * * MAYBE .... God wants you to use these
experiences to write a short book with
your WONDERFUL pictures... and Experiences ! ! !
*** Just a thought !

Well .... Sweetheart... You remember to Eat and
stay well hydrated and remember Rest when you
can....

WE WILL ~ ALL ~ C * O * N * T * I * N * U * E ~
to pray for you and
Know that God Is Holding ya'll up in HIS
MIGHTY ARMS of PROTECTION ! ! !

God Bless !
Sunshine
SusieSunshine
( < 8 ~ Me with my glasses SMIL'N @ You~ downthere!!


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RE: My bushfire experience

Thank you, Cait, for your brilliant description and pics on your situation in regard to this horrible disaster...it is so good to hear from you! Will continue to keep you and DH & friends & family in thoughts and prayers.

Always, in retrospect, it seems that we find out what needed to be done and maybe how to do it differently...it is so good that you and your friend will try to influence those who "rule" into some sensible, effective policy that can, hopefully, change some of the effects and get better results when a disaster like this occurs.

Have missed you! And am so happy that your house and gardens are still there! (dried & withered & blackened gardens...but as that old song, "It'll come back. It'll come back. God and the rain will bring it back!" Thanks again, Cait, for taking the time to ease our fears.
Jeanne S.


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RE: My bushfire experience

Your story had me mesmerized! What a frightening experience! I am so happy to hear you and your family are doing well and that your home and gardens were spared as well as those of your neighbors. I hope the temperatures go down (send some of that heat this way, ok?) and some rains arrive.

I have read horrible stories of the Peshtigo fire here in Wisconsin that occurred at the same time as the big Chicago fire in 1871. There were reports of great walls of flames - firestorms - that were almost like flaming hurricanes that just rolled over the land destroying everything in their wake. The size of the firestorms was a mile high, five miles wide and they traveled 90 to 100 miles per hour.

It is the worst recorded fire in U.S. history. Before it was over 1.2 million acres of forest were burned to the ground, 12 towns were completely destroyed and an estimated number of 1,200 to 2,500 people were killed. Of those killed, 350 were buried in a mass grave because no relatives, friends or neighbors were alive to identify them.

Fires are scary, very scary! I'm glad you have a place to go to get away from its danger!



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RE: My bushfire experience

Cait, I've been hoping and praying to hear from you, and check here so often "just in case". When I saw you'd posted tonight, I practically held my breath as I read...
like Luna, I was mesmeried and hanging on each word. The photos were incredible. What a miracle your area was spared and the fire stopped as it did. I had so hoped your beautiful gardens would survive (and your home of course!!).
I know all of us have been praying like mad about your safety and your home. Reading all the news I could find, seeing the devastating photos on the web and on TV, and hearing the number of deaths, has been heart-wrenching.
My heart goes out to all affected by this tragedy.

I have to say, you made me smile when you told Kirk one of the first things you grabbed was Trygg! Leave your papers and passport....but never Trygg. LOL. You might need to explain 'him' to some our new members tho.

Bless you, Cait. We love you and will continue our prayers as long as there's a fire burning there.
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Wow!! I live in So. Ca. so deal with fires often, even if not close I can see the smoke which is mostly gray or whitish as they get a handle on it. Very black smoke is more dangerous & plastic smell is serious threat to your health. It is amazing that the fire stopped at the street as fires create their own wind & it can be mild to raging like Luna described. I'm 2 miles from mountains & we were packed up to go for 2 reasons, if wind changed directly in front of my house 2 miles away with wind coming towards my house it will bring embers as large as 1 foot long, 1st mo. I lived here had dirt for a yard & I ran around putting them out. 2nd reason to leave is coming from 2 directions- they can merge or get strength & build up speed. So you were in real dangerous situation. We have firemen fighting fires & police have job of going door to door yelling & using bullhorn & telling people to get out!!! You don't even have that so you may have to organize your neighbors so you can alert each other.Honk as you are leaving if nothing else! You know U.S. had CONARAD I think I spelled it wrong it was system of sirens to let us know of incoming bomb or missile etc. It's no longer in use. With all the vegetation & no rain if winds had gotten bad you might not have gotten out. If it is very dry & not fire season you must be alert anyway. Now we are finally told what all of us living here already know, fire season is all year long!!!! Fire can outrun a car so don't wait & gather important things, passport, birth certificate,money, house papers, insurance,few clothes, shoes, food & water,etc in 1 spot,make a list of what you need & post it in handy place but sometimes you have only enough time to grab purse & bag & run. Cars sometimes die as fire sucks away oxygen they need to run so don't wait to last minute, that is why some died in their cars I think. I just heard a fireman talk about it recently, I had no idea cars died because of lack of oxygen. So with weather changing so much all around the world I hope everybody will pay attention to Cait, Luna & what I've learned. Backfires fairly often get out of control & were cause of several large US fires last year!! Praying for rain at your area & that other end of your country will dry up as it is flooded. Fires can also lay low for several days & flare back up even roots burn underground the fire dept said. Hoping that it will rain & put things in much better shape. Glad you have relatives to go to as that is always helpful in keeping expenses down. I don't mean to scare anyone but everyone needs to plan how to get out if their house, apt, or town is on fire!! If you have a plan you won't panic!!Jan


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Oh Cait! As I sat here this morning and read your about your experience, my heart just felt for you. I am so sorry that you've had to go through all of the fear and worry, but I am VERY glad that you and your neighborhood have been spared. I've thought about all of your wonderful photos of your garden and my heart just breaks for you. I guess I can feel your pain since we barely missed a tornado this past summer. The photo of the aerial map looked so similar to the one of our house when the tornado passed. I thank God that he took care of all of you! I'll keep you and your family in my prayers as you continue to deal with the back fires and the clean up! Lots of love and hugs are being sent your way!

~Marlene


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Cait, praise God you and your family are safe! As I read your story and seen the pics, my heart was in my throat, just thinking what you and DH went through. With you being so incredibly close to the forest, it is a blessing it didn't go any further. The heat has to be tremendous for all of you, I can't imagine! When you were telling of your return trip to your home and rounding the corner, I think I was holding my breath. What a relief to know you and your friends and neighbors were spared.
I really love what Jeanne said, "It'll come back, It'll come back, God and rain will bring it back."
We are all praying for you, I know it is exasperating and you are probably worn to a frazzle, dear.
I heard they had an arson suspect, but I don't know how reliable that news source was.
Stay safe and know prayers are still coming your way!
blessings-sherri


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Popping in with a few words of cheer for "our " Cait. Thinking of you daily. Pray things start looking up.
Vickie


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It's a big relief to know that you're doing okay, Cait! My goodness, what an ordeal you've been through! So glad your home & garden was spared. It's a wonder the fire didn't engulf those homes! So glad you got out in time, the air would've been dangerous to breathe.

Ms. Jeannespines is absolutely right, so just pray for rain now, and cooler temperatures! Is that a dry heat, or a humid heat? 117 in high humidity would finish me probably! I can barely take the summers here in TN., so I do my gardening mainly in the spring and fall. In the heat of summer, I go outside mainly in the mornings, after 10am it's hot as heck, and the evenings don't cool off that much until wee morning hours. Summer months my plants only get watered, no fuss til fall.

It's always interesting to hear about your life in the land down under, so please keep up to date when ya can. Mother Nature is so awesome ... loved the photos, especially the last one. Reminds me of riding down the road around here. Beautiful countryside.

Take care! ~tenderlee


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Cait, I was in tears for you! I read part of the post yesterday (had a funeral at the church and carried food for the family)and the rest this morning. Fire is a horrible, horrible thing! Maybe the plants will be ok, because of the root system. Hopefully you will get rain soon!
Hurricanes are bad but fires worse!!!!!!!!!


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  • Posted by cait1 VIC Aust (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 17, 09 at 18:18

Thank you all for your wonderful and heartfelt comments. Jan's fire preperation advice is well worth taking note of. I'm a complete bushfire idiot... well, I was before this happened.

I've been busy the last two days because DH had cataract surgery but he's recouping wonderfully so all is well with that.

Ms Sunshine, eating has not been something I've felt like doing but I will resume that task, I promise. I may have even lost a couple of pounds so I'm not too upset by that! LOL I have been walking around with a water bottle, though.

Jeanne, thanks for those encouraging words. Actually, just a week before the fires I was surveying my parched and dying garden. I was feeling so very despondant I was about to give up on it altogether. Now, though, I feel very blessed that I even have it. You don't know what you got 'til you realize it coulda been gone.

Luna, I'm going to google about that Peshtigo fire. Horrific is all I can say about it.

There's still a few fires just north of me but there are no alert messages for my town except for smoky conditions. At a town meeting on Monday they said it could be another 2 to 3 weeks before they're all put out - if no new fires start. At night we watch firetrucks and emergency vehicles go up our street. I really just want it over with already, but I don't want to rush the guys, either.

Oh, and Karen said I needed to explain who Trygg is. Two Christmas' ago I was a part of the Secret Santa exchange and Kirk got my name and sent me a wonderful, impish carved troll I named Trygg along with other beautiful gifts. I admit Trygg stole me heart. He often sits next to my puter but every so often I find him outside creating mischief. Here's a pic I caught of him after he knocked down the fairies:


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HAHAHA

Thank you all again for your continued emotional support and especially for your prayers. You know ya'll are in mine!!
Cait


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Wow! Thank God you're okay, Cait. Our prayers are with those who lost property and especially with those who lost loved ones. The fires have been on the news here and I hope that the rains will come and put out every last bit of fire. Keep after the officials - you need a better plan. Stay safe, Colleen


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  • Posted by kirkus Zone 5 in Eastern WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 18, 09 at 0:52

Cait! I am SO glad you are safe and back home! I was so worried for you and your family and home. Watched the news constantly. I can't even imagine the struggles, worries, and scare you have gone through. We have been praying for you non-stop. WOW! The fire came so close. Any rain in sight?

Thank you for the vivid description of the fires and what you have been going through. (It takes me back to when you wrote on the forum about a walk through your gardens at night. I can still picture it. You are such a descriptive writer! I felt I was there back then!)

On a lighter note, I knew Trygg would protect you! If he can knock over fairies, he can SCARE away fires.

God bless you! I'm so relieved you are safe! How's your hubby doing now after his surgery? YOU HAVE A FULL PLATE! Do something good for yourself!

Love and Bear Hugs! Kirk


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DH surgery

Glad your DH surgery went well. Good that you are back home & not in too much smoke,leave if it gets irritating as it can damage his eyes. Friend had patch over her eye day after & then got "embarassed" at the stock car races that night & took it off. She lost sight in that eye, dr. said dust irritated it & it was just downhill from there as it was the better eye. So strange too as she had worked for JR. blind & had a blind relative. Eyes are very touchy & very precious take good care of your guy!! Hope the excitement is about over for a long while, life can get routine but after all this routine is good!!! Praying for your health, home & rain,rain, rain for you! Jan


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Cait, it was fun to see Trygg again. He's so comical and michievious looking. But tell him its not nice to knock the Fairies over, LOL.

Hope your hubby does fine with the eye surgery. My 84 yr dad got one of his done before Christmas, and now he's getting the other one done mid March. I had to keep track of so dang many eye drops thru-out the day for a long time it seemed, but all went well otherwise.

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Cait,
Your written account of the fires is so well done! Your words are so descriptive... when I read it I felt as if I were there. Your feelings came through so vividly!

I am so happy for you and your husband, that your home and gardens were spared, and very sad for those who lost so much.

And DH's cataract surgery on top of everything you've been through!! I'm so glad to hear that went well.

Take care and just enjoy life and your home!

~Sandy~


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!! Cait !!! This post reads like a Readers Digest "Drama in Real Life" you are indeed a talented writer. ( perhaps you can submit it to them?) I have been praying for you all down under.
Now the politics there make ME very cranky. I can only imagine your angst. Maybe they need a good NY butt-kicking. Keep writing !!
Wishing you all the best.
Lori
( Yo Trygg !! Glad you're not letting those fairies kick sand in your face)


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Oh Cait...I can't even imagine what you have been through these last couple of weeks...just horrible. I am so glad you are OK and that things seem to be getting a little better. i will pray that you get some rain and that no more damage is done. Thanks so much for checking in with us.

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Well written Cait. I was on the edge of my seat!
So glad that you are ok.
kathy


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  • Posted by cait1 VIC Aust (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 21, 09 at 9:15

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. The fires are far from over and it looks like we'll be evacuating tomorrow as there's a chnace on Monday that more fires will break out due to the north winds that are expected to be blowing. I've spent the last couple of days cutting back the overgrown grass in parts of the garden but there's just too much of it. Because DH had the cataract surgery he's not allowed to do any gardening so I've been on my own out there. Not that I'm complaining - I don't want him to have any problems with his eye. The massive neglect in the garden happened because I was doing the house renovation and if I don't go out there and direct DH to problem areas he needs to clear they don't get done. HAHAHA He's good for mowing the lawn in front of the house but that's about it. He's not too crazy about weed whacking. HAHAHA But I feel bad for my neighbors who have spotless gardens and no tall grass under their shrubs and trees nor around their fence line. My neighbor to the back walks around twice a year with weedkiller to take care of that problem at the fence line and my other neighbor gets someone in to do the gardening and my other neighbor... hmm, for some reason she has a lot of dead patches around her fence line so I don't know what she does.
Okay, I'm rambling a bit but I'm feeling so tired from all that's been happening and I'm probably stressed out and I just want the fires to stop. Found out that the fire authority believes it could be another two weeks!! Oy.

Below are pics I took today of the fires still going.


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Thanks again for your continued prayes and well wishes.
(((((Garden Junkers))))) You guys are the BEST!!!
Cait


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RE: My bushfire experience

Cait, I just popped in here to see if you had posted regarding the fires. My goodness, your description had me holding my breath waiting to read how it turned out! I'm so relieved that your home and neighborhood was spared, and so sorry for those who lost homes and lives. Take care of yourselves, and we will keep saying prayers for you and all our friends "down under". Luvs


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RE: My bushfire experience

Oh no, Cait, not another evacuation for you. And more stress about your home and gardens. I had so hoped the danger had passed.

Prayers and hugs,
Karen


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RE: My bushfire experience

Cait, Bella from South Grafton Australia (She is on Gardenjunk.org) is glad you are ok and wishes you the best....Her son got away, just barely, the Company he cuts trees for lost a bunch of equiptment. He was very lucky!
For some reason Bella can't post here...


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RE: My bushfire experience

  • Posted by cait1 VIC Aust (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 26, 09 at 0:20

I should clarify - it's not that we're 'evacuated', a person's fire plan is to either stay and fight or leave. So on high fire risk days, we go! It's still like an evacuation.
So yes, we left again and guess what? Monday a fire breaks out a couple of towns away from where we were staying!! But DH's nephew has everything ready to defend his house so I watched them get their fire plan into action which was to top up their ginormous water tank, check the sprinkler system that's on the roof, fill pails with water and have mops by the pails then put them all around the house so that if a cinder falls you can douse it with a wet mop, change into all cotton clothing which is slower to burn, get wool blankets out to wet and put over yourself... have I missed anything? Oh yeah, then sit on the porch and watch the smoke and wind, listen to the news, and wait to see if the fire spreads our way.
To be honest, we would have been safer if we stayed home! But on Monday the big worry was south east of here and, fortunately, nothing happened.
Tomorrow, Friday, is another high risk day but I'm not sure if we're going to the nephew's house. Maybe we'll just spend the day at the mall. Then, if something happens in our area we'll go to the nephew's house.
I don't know. This is getting very tiresome. I want these fires to stop already but someone told me she heard they were predicting a few more months before it's all settled. MONTHS!!
And then yesterday we saw a new plume of smoke in the hills out yonder. So I called 000, our 911, and told the lady that I saw smoke coming from a hilltop but I couldn't tell her the name of the hill top and was just guessing about the area the hilltop was in. She suggested I check the CFA website to see if there was anything written there about the plume but I said it just started as I had been watching the mountains all morning and this one area suddendly started smoking - I called her as soon as I saw the plume of smoke. The lady asked if I saw flames. I said I was too far to see flames so she gave me this xyz number to call and report it. So I call xyz and I'm talking to this guy who seems absolutely clueless as to what to do and eventually suggest a number to call. And guess what number he gves me? xyz... I yelled at him and said that it's his number and asked him if he didn't know his own number. Sheesh. So then he gave me another number and I speak to that person who eventually says she'll transfer me to somebody else who might be able to help. So I'm talking to this lady and she says I've called the wrong number and that I have to call 000. I tell her that's who I started with but they didn't want to know. So this lady asked if I could see flames and I said no and then she said that 000 wouldn't do anything about it until ya saw flames. So I said, "Well, isn't it a bit too late by then? I mean, if you see flames the fire's on ya and you're dead." She was silent. So I then threatened to tell a popular news journalist here about the inefficiency and run around I was receiving and there was a big silence so the lady switched me to someone else and they said a fire truck would come by to have a look. So from when I first called to when the fire dept came was about 1 hour. The fire crew said it was a flare up within contained lines, and really that was what I was trying to find out, if the new fire was in a containment area, or even backburning by the CFA itself, or something new that needed watching.
I kinda think it turned into something they needed to watch because after dark we could see trucks up there. I never felt threatened by this fire cuz it really is too far from my place, but it was extremely frustrating that when I reported it, no one seemed to want to respond.

Thanks Luvs and Karen. Karen, your arm feeling any better?? LOL SHould probably ask that on 'your' thread. lol

Thanks Nona. Why can't Bella write on here? I think that very weird. Glad to hear her son was safe.

Well, will fill you in as it happens... or, as I'd prefer, DOESN'T happen. ;-)


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RE: My bushfire experience

Saw that you were Ok on another post!Yesterday they were saying they were getting people out of area around Victoria & I thought of you. Don't feel bad. Yrs ago I was good citizen & reported fire beside freeway we were on heading to Denny's after church, well, I called & they wanted to know if it was shurbs or trees or heavy brush & went on & on, I was so flustrated it was right beside the freeway & steep hill. Another time a called & said hills were on fire straight out from door of local fire dept. They wanted to know where, I said is this our fire dept,they said yes, I said, well, step out the door don't go any direction but straight ahead & look at mountains up where no people are & no streets, see all that smoke,"oh,yeah got to go!" then I heard firetrucks. They want an address & there arn't even any roads up there. Guess that is way they are trained & most of time it works but they maybe should put colored towers so you could say between red & yellow towers but that probably wouldn't work as looks different from different locations. Hope you get rain soon, that would help!! Jan


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RE: My bushfire experience

Cait ... It is GOOD to hear from you with this update! This is a full-blown CATASTROPHE that you are living on a day-to-day basis! Thank God you have the motivation and strength to face it all "head-on!" We know no one controls the weather...keep your good & caring attitude & will continue to keep you in thought and prayer...especially for RAIN!!! Jeanne S.


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RE: My bushfire experience

Good grief, that has to be frustrating and frightening! Here in Wisconsin, we just worry about snow and cold. We haven't had any big fires since the 1800s and we have had only one tornado in the Milwaukee area since I was born almost 49 years ago. We have had hurricane force winds knock over huge trees but very few catastrophes that involve deaths or total destruction. It is hard for me to even fathom what you must be going through! You, your family and your neighbors will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.


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RE: My bushfire experience

Cait, I just found this post and I am so grateful to know that you are ok. I live way over in North Carolina and I had no idea the fires were still raging in your area. The news here is absolutely horrible. They almost never mention anything outside of our little area. But, I had not seen anything about the fires on the national news either. I can' believe all of this devastation is still occuring and no one mentioned it. I am sick of hearing about the airline crash where everyone got out alive because that has been mentioned almost daily since mid January. How can they keep talking about all of that when there are so many people being killed or losing everything in an area like yours? It seems like the fires would be much more important. I just don't get it.

Keep safe and keep posting so we know you are ok. I will keep you in my prayers.
Mindy


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