Yesterday afternoon, with temperatures in the high 30s (around 100 Fahrenheit), atmospheric humidity below ten percent, and hot winds of 50-70km/h (gusting to over 100) thirty bushfires started (or were started grr) within an hour. At work, we first noticed something was wrong when the electricity started to dip and surge. I spotted smoke out the window, and thought a building was on fire a street or two away. I got up onto the roof, and was stunned at what I saw. I had a vew of the city for 20 or 30 km in most directions, and here and there enormous columns of smoke were rising. It looked like war.
20+ homes lost, and five firefighters injured - on the first day of this year’s fires.
Dopers in outer Sydney, please check in. Accomm. available at my place if you need it. Keep your bags packed.
Most of the Sydney Dopers should be fine. We usually get a bit concerned about reprise, who would be the most likely of us to be in the immediate path of the fires. Goo lives in an area with a lot of bushland, but at this stage the fires are too far south to affect her. Don’t Ask might also be close to the fires.
Today, the weather is a little less extreme, but the fires are far from being under control. The wind is still dry and a little gusty, and there’s no rain predicted. So, all bets are off. Anything could happen.
I live near Kenthurst and I almost had a heart attack when I woke up this morning and heard that the fires were heading our way! I bundled the cat and dog inside, (almost forgot my boyfriend) and we huddled in the lounge room. Luckily, the fire didn’t reach us but it did reach many homes. It’s a horrible thing to happen, and it always does seem to happen around Christmas.
My Mum lives very close to some of the fires. We plan to go and stay with one of her friends.
Just in case anyone hasn’t read my other thread regarding the fires, I’m fine - but yes, we do have bags packed and we have an evacuation plan.
For thosw who don’t live in this kind of territory, what we’re facing are firestorms - most of the fires are not at ground level, they’re in the tree tops and our native plants are just loaded with volatile oils.
I believe that Elvis has already come up from Victoria (big water crane - we already had two here). As I said in the other thread, the Kiwi and Merkin firefighters are already on their way to help out. West of me, the biggest problem is that there is no water for the firefighters to use. Drought and fire are a BAD combination.
Now that the wind has dropped we are not (right now) at risk - I’m just hoping that no-one decides to set fire to Nurragingy Reserve, because if that happens, we’re in deep shit.
Unfortunately, there are now two reported fatalities.
For those who don’t know Sydney’s geography, the city is in a large, flat basin about thirty or so miles across. The ocean, of course, forms the eastern edge, but for most of the north, south, and west, Sydney is enclosed by thick tree cover on rugged sandstone terrain. Most of these areas are National Park. Because of the difficult terrain, there aren’t many roads or rail lines out of town (generally only one in each direction). Last night, the Pacific Highway and the railway to the north were cut, leaving commuters from the dormitory areas of the Central coast and Newcastle stranded. The Great Western highway and railway to the west (over the mountains) were also cut.
Yesterday, the weather cooled a little, which helped (it SNOWED in Victoria! Weird). Today, all I can see out of the window is an almost complete cover of smoke haze. It’s given me a bit of a cough, and my eyes are smarting a little when it gets bad, yet I’m a long way from any danger.
Of course, a big THANK YOU to the interstate, New Zealand, and American firefighters who are either already here, or on their way.
We really are heading for a bad for a bad Christmas season aren’t we? Especially since we are in the middle of a devastating drought… you think it can’t get much worse and then you are once again reminded that many of these fires were deliberately lit mutters under breath
It has been pissing down rain in Sydney since last night - a welcome relief to all of us living in and around the Sydney metropolitan area. Everyone, that is, except for my daughter who is now bitching that her formal (prom) dress and hairdo are going to be ruined by the rain - teenagers, you’ve gotta love 'em.
Yeah. The rain is wonderful. Solid, steady, soaking rain. There seemed to be a lot of happy people on the streets this morning. I’d never seen rain do that before. This is definitely going to break the back of the current fires, and gives a bit more hope for the rest of the fire season.