Today and last night I have been watching in horror as the fires in the southern state of Victoria have been burning and their story is unfolding.
Just a few minutes ago they updated the death toll to 35 deaths. There are no doubt more to come. Reporters have said that 40 plus have been predicted. Many more people have been burned, I heard a report that there are three in hospital in Melbourne with very serious injuries, plus 18 others having treatment there as well. That is just the report from one hospital.
When my eldest son was a baby in 1983, Victoria had it's worse fires recorded to date, known as Ash Wednesday. This one is bigger and has a higher death toll already. It is still raging out of control at 10 different sites across the state to the north east and north west of Melbourne. The conditions today have eased somewhat compared to yesterday and last night but the fires are still out of control.
The towns of Kings lake have lost 6 people which is the highest number of deaths for one town so far. At this stage none of the victims are able to be recognized.
Last night on the news they said that the town of Eagle hawk just outside of Bendigo was badly damaged. A few years ago I met a lovely man (John Eagle) who had a pottery and art school there with his wife. He caught my attention because he did wonderful copper red glazes, my favourite glaze, and I bought a pot off him and was talking with him for quite a while. He was outside town in the bush, I guess his place is gone now.
Another town called Marysville is reported as being 90% destroyed. Oh my god can you imagine? 90%.
I am pretty well at the stage where I don't want to know anymore. It is too horrible.
Our little town of Junee had terrible fires about 4 years ago. That was pretty bad, at one stage they were going to evacuate the whole town but the town was surrounded on three sides and no one could get out because of the smoke on the other side anyway. We survived with the loss of 5 houses and just one boy badly burnt but he survived with disabilities that will stay with him for the rest of his life. That is nothing compared to what is happening in Victoria as I write this. Last night there was a cool change with a minor amount of rain, not enough to help, but the wind change was not in the fire fighters favour and resulted in more damage being done as the winds turned the fire around.
Here in Canberra there were huge fires the year before the Junee ones, with lots and lots of houses lost too, I can't remember numbers but I think there were 500 homes lost that time. Reports so far on the Victorian fires have said that there are well over a hundred homes lost.
They have called in the army to help.The state has been declared a disaster zone. Of course.
There is also a large fire burning near Sydney at Peat's Ridge. It is in an area where much of the terrain is hilly or mountainous and very hard to get into the thick bush to fight.
No fires near here thank god!
Bye Love Linda.
It is now 5.30m in the afternoon here and the death toll has risen to 65, and still going up.
it is now 8.30 on Sunday evening and they have just announced that there have been 78 official deaths from the fires in Victoria. And many many more burn injuries.
How much worse will this get?
It is not over yet.