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Old 02-08-2009, 10:25 PM   #61
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Its just going to keep climbing isn't it
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:27 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by yolland View Post
That image keeps giving me nightmares too...it was the main reason why my first reaction was 'I can't believe how fast these moved.' I've watched enough news stories about devastating wildfires out West to know how dangerous the combination of wind, dry scrub and sparks can be, but I can't remember hearing of anything quite like this.


yes, me too.

my only basis of comparison was when my best friend's parent's house -- these people are like 2nd parents to me -- nearly went up in San Diego maybe 2 years ago?

while the fires were wide and deep and the Santa Anna winds were blowing, they had plenty of time to evacuate and they even watched the fire creep closer and were prepared to watch it devour their house and say good bye.

i have never, ever heard of anything like what i'm reading about and watching on Yahoo news. it's the speed that floors me. the fact that it's not like people are being a bunch of idiots and trying to ride it out. it's that within a matter of seconds they are consumed by flames.

just awful. i am so sorry for everyone involved.
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:54 PM   #63
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i have never, ever heard of anything like what i'm reading about and watching on Yahoo news. it's the speed that floors me. the fact that it's not like people are being a bunch of idiots and trying to ride it out. it's that within a matter of seconds they are consumed by flames.
This is what gets me too. All these people had fire plans, acted on them, did the right things ... and the ferocity of this thing just literally burnt all those plans to ash. If you live in Australia, you know these things can be quick, I'm sure anyone in the country who didn't already know that got a very stunning lesson from the 2003 Canberra firestorm. But this? Something else entirely.

The stories are just unfathomable, like this for instance: Firefighter tells personal story of battling Victoria's bushfires as threat continues across state and death toll recorded in Kinglake, Marysville, Arthurs Creek, Strathewen, Humevale, Bendigo, Wandong, St Andrews

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Age
In the past two days, the CFA lieutenant has seen a body tumble from a smashed car and charred remains in the blackened shells of other vehicles.

He tried to help a woman find her sister's children only to discover they had burned in a house in the Kinglake fires.
What can you even say.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:06 PM   #64
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Its just going to keep climbing isn't it
From what I've been reading a death toll of 200 or more is very possible. A lot of grief and pain for a lot of people.


One thing I read that really struck me was the heat was so intense it could kill even at quite a distance. Hard to imagine that kind of heat.

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A University of Melbourne senior lecturer in fire ecology and management, Kevin Tolhurst, said the radiant heat - the heat given off by the fires - would itself have been enough to kill. "When it gets close, you have enormous radiation loads."

The "survivability" distance of Saturday's heat was about four times their height - a 35-metre high fire would directly imperil those within 140 metres.

The body would get over-stressed, the core temperature would get too high and the metabolism would break down in those conditions. He said bushfires produce their own volatile gases which in turn burn - and on a day as hot as Saturday, it does not take much for them to ignite.

Dr Tolhurst said people could be surrounded by a series of spot fires. Breathing would become difficult due to burning gases and the body would dehydrate quickly. Death from a form of asphyxiation was also possible.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:39 PM   #65
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It's absolutely devastating. That's all I can really say. My heart's out to all the Victorians here, hopefully we'll do as much as we can over the border.
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Old 02-08-2009, 11:42 PM   #66
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Another town is simply gone, Strathewen. This gave me chills: Strathewen 'like a war zone' | theage.com.au

Part of the article:

Quote:
On Saturday afternoon, there were 200 people living in the rural town, which is north of Melbourne.

By the end of that night, it is believed about 15 per cent of the population - or about 30 people - perished.

Many houses in Strathewen and Arthurs Creek have police tape across their front gates, an ominous sign of what lies inside.

The town has lost its old fire station, its school and its community hall. A man died while running for his life across the town's sports ground. The reserve has only one strip of green remaining, its cricket pitch.

Whole sections of the town have been flattened, obliterated.
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 02-09-2009, 12:43 AM   #67
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Given the times and the distances talked about by some of the fire crews and survivors, a conservative estimate is that the fire was moving at 100km/hr. I can't even begin to imagine a fire moving that fast...
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:56 AM   #68
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Victorian Premier John Brumby announced review of policy after bushfires burn across state with ongoing threat, and death toll rising in dead, toll, survivor, Kinglake, Marysville, Arthurs Creek, Strathewen, Humevale, Bendigo, Wandong, St Andrews

Obviously this will be a big thing in the coming weeks. But I'm citing the article for the following tidbit:

Quote:
He had spoken to one couple from Kinglake who were ready to defend their home but had to flee at the last moment, saving their family but losing their house.

"They put their fire plan in place, they did everything right, 30 metres of grass, water in spouts, everything, and they were going to save their house and they said it just came over, like a sun almost, a fireball just came over.

"Their kitchen just exploded and they left in the car and miraculously they survived.

"But how else do you describe that, it is, it's like hell on earth."
Holy fucking hell, people.

And to think that in a country known for bushfires, this has not only surpassed the toll from Ash Wednesday, but could double or even triple it. I'm still just at a loss. I keep checking the news websites because I can't get this out of my mind. To think I'm sitting less than an hour away from some of the worst hit areas.
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 02-09-2009, 01:27 AM   #69
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I was away for a couple of days, away from the news, and when I returned tonight I talked to my friend here who is Australian and she told me about this as she's been glued to the news. I couldn't wrap my brain around it. I kept asking, rather dumbly, how could people be dying, why couldn't they get away if they knew fires were in their area, and she kept trying to explain how fast these brush fires move. We live in the US desert Southwest where we are also prone to fires during a dry season and the last one was in 2000. My town was surrounded by fires for a week but even as fires were raging all around us, it was moving slowly. I kept a bag packed by the front door in case I had to evacuate and I couldn't sleep all week afraid I wouldn't hear the police knocking at the door in the middle of the night - they were going door-to-door to evacuate people - that's how much time we had, how much notice we had. So to think a fire could move so fast that you could actually be trapped is absolutely incomprehensible and horrifying to me. My friend was really upset and depressed. Thinking about you all.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:24 AM   #70
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Have not experienced it, no. When I visited Melbourne a few years ago, it was actually quite cold, so it's hard for me to understand the whole thing. But I've been reading articles for the last week or so that there was a big likelihood of a major fire in the region, so I stand by my point, to be honest - and Germaine Greer made the point better than I did, and she'd be more familiar with the region than I would.

Perhaps, in a few weeks or months, some examination can be conducted of what caused this and why the death toll was so high.
There were more than 40 fires reported. No one is saying all were started by arsonists, but apparently some were. Both can actually happen at the same time.
In the Sydney area two were reportedly caught, and Kevin Rudd and others mentioned several times how some fires (again, not all) were started or relighted by arsonists.

It's unbelievable and sad how such huge areas light up in no time leaving the people there no chance to escape.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:40 AM   #71
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I heard two towns now dissapeared from the earth. Also that some of the fires were actually lit by people. How can anyone be so fucking stupid?
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:50 AM   #72
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The hole thing is sickening. I just can't believe it... these people had no time.

The only thing we can do now is to try to help the survivors. Donate money. Donate blood. Do whatever you can. If you're at school, talk to your SRC to see if you can organise a free-dress day or something to raise money.

Victoria: Offer help

I just hope the death-toll stops rising...
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:14 AM   #73
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I was in Wedderburn all weekend for a cricket tournament, which I think is about half an hour north of Bendigo. We played Strathewen in the competition. They probably all lost friends and family.

This is completely unfahtombale. These pictures and stories are just.

My cousins spent their entire childhood growing up in Marysville. It was a beautiful little town, I was there for a wedding not all that long ago. And now the place has been literally burnt to the ground.

This is not a fucking bushfire. This is literally hell on earth. Fires don't leave places looking like they've dropped a fucking atomic bomb.
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Old 02-09-2009, 05:28 AM   #74
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I was in Wedderburn all weekend for a cricket tournament, which I think is about half an hour north of Bendigo. We played Strathewen in the competition. They probably all lost friends and family.
Just before I loaded this thread, I was looking through photos on The Age's website and one of them was of Strathewen's cricket oval ... all that's standing on the site of the clubrooms is a fridge.

I don't know if this gallery will have more added to it after I post, but the picture in question is currently the 13th of 57: Photo Gallery - Bushfire recovery - Free National images | theage.com.au
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Ian McCulloch the U2 fan:
"Who buys U2 records anyway? It's just music for plumbers and bricklayers. Bono, what a slob. You'd think with all that climbing about he does, he'd look real fit and that. But he's real fat, y'know. Reminds me of a soddin' mountain goat."
"And as for Bono, he needs a colostomy bag for his mouth."

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Old 02-09-2009, 05:42 AM   #75
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Finance guy; my friend recorded the temperature on her verandah on Saturday. It was 50 degrees celsius. Today it was 21 degrees. Melbourne has extreme weather changes. The wind was insanely strong; and the fires travelled 50 km and surrounded towns, creating their own electrical storms (which again created more fire). Fire-balls came down mountains from three fronts. It moved so fast people literally had no time to escape; they were trapped. According to the Herald Sun, bushfire heat is measured in energy - the number of kilowatts per metre of the firefront. CFA crews won't send anyone to fight a fire of 4000kW/m. The Kinglake fire was 20,000 kW/m. Sending fire-fighters to a blaze this hot is suicide... can you imagine what it would have been like for the people who were only protected by their clothing?

Angela Harlem explained it better... the warnings went out, it just happened too fast, and we can never fully understand as we've never experienced it. It was a fire storm; fire spread through the air, houses exploded, fallen trees blocked roads, it was black as night at 5 o' clock in the afternoon. People didn't stand a chance, and if a fire was originally 50 km away from my house, I couldn't imagine feeling threatened enough to evacuate either... no wonder people didn't get out in time.
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