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Axver 02-08-2009 02:45 AM

Victorian bushfires and heatwave thread
We've been discussing this in the Superthread but I think it deserves a thread of its own here. Yesterday was the hottest day in Victoria since records began 150 years ago. It struck 46.4 in central Melbourne; 46.9 at Essendon Airport near me; 47.9 to Melbourne's west at Avalon Airport (for those of you still using Fahrenheit, we're talking around 116-118). As if the extreme heat wasn't enough, the relative humidity was a paltry 6% and we were experiencing wind gusts of above 80km/h. My house stayed surprisingly cool throughout it, I barely even needed a fan on, but I walked out the door at the height of it and it was like stepping into a blast furnace.

So ... inevitably, there were fires. The place is dry enough as it is. Melbourne recorded a single millimetre of rain for the entirety of January. Victoria was like a tinderbox. And it fucking went up.

At the moment, 65 people are dead. That's probably going to climb. To put things in context, the highest death toll from an Australian bushfire was Ash Wednesday, 1983, with 75 dead, 47 of them in Victoria. The highest death toll in Victoria from a bushfire was Black Friday in 1939, when 71 died. This ... could be worse.

Kinglake is gone. Marysville is gone. Narbethong is gone. All of them are to the north of Melbourne. They were just completely razed by an inferno with flames over forty metres high. Fires burned across the state - east of Melbourne through Gippsland, to the west around Bendigo and Horsham, elsewhere too. The Hume and Princes Highways were closed in multiple places; the Gippsland, Seymour, Warrnambool, and Belgrave railways were cut, as was the main line to Sydney ... only the Gippsland and Belgrave lines have reopened yet.

It's just indescribable. I don't even know what to say, really. I'm rattled by it all, even though I'm safe in Melbourne's inner suburbs.

There are still some fires burning out of control too, but the worst of the heatwave is over. It was only about 20 today. It was actually raining in Marysville.

Links to coverage:
The Age - Business, World & Breaking News | Melbourne, Australia
Bushfire Emergency - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

blueeyedgirl 02-08-2009 03:01 AM

When I lived in Melbourne around 2000, I was friends with a couple of people (both of whom I've lost touch with), of whom one's mother lived in Marysville and the other's father lived in Bendigo. I wish I still had these people's contact numbers.... :(

They just showed the scene in Kinglake on the news. I remember getting coffee and cake in the bakery there one Sunday drive in the country....

kennerado 02-08-2009 03:03 AM

I have family in Healsville, they were evacuated last night but are back now. Apparently there is ash everywhere.

bono_man2002 02-08-2009 03:04 AM

Some bastards are tying to re-light them too...fuck whits

I just drove back home on the Hume Freeway and about a 10-20km stretch was just horrifying.

Places like Whittlesea, Panton Hill..I drove through yesterday morning :sad:

Axver 02-08-2009 03:10 AM

Glad to see you online Daniel - I'd read that thousands of homes in Shepparton, Swan Hill, Bendigo, and the area in between were without power and may not have it restored for days.

Hope the arsonist cunts get everything they deserve.

bono_man2002 02-08-2009 03:13 AM


Originally Posted by Axver (Post 5832247)
Glad to see you online Daniel - I'd read that thousands of homes in Shepparton, Swan Hill, Bendigo, and the area in between were without power and may not have it restored for days.

Hope the arsonist cunts get everything they deserve.

Yeah I heard that, Fuck this is such a terrible weekend. I only just got home about 30 minutes ago, but Mum said they had no power a bit earlyer on this arvo. Mum also went out and McDonalds and those places ect were all without power. We can't complain though, so far we've avoided any fires whatsoever. (I think there was a little on in Shepp, and one out Katandra.)

The fires did get to the Street of My girlfriends grandparents, but as of now, they are fine.

The Arsonist cunts deserve to be shot, but they will only get a small jail sentence or something.....

Axver 02-08-2009 03:28 AM

It's been indescribable. The 6pm news last night made things seem not so bad, relatively speaking, but of course, that was just when the cool change was hitting with its changing winds and the shit really hit the fan just as they went to air. Watching the death toll gradually climb today has just felt so fucking awkward - not to mention the sensation of helplessness when you read what those in the area have gone through.

A_Wanderer 02-08-2009 03:31 AM

The fires are a statistically inevitability, of course they may become more frequent with climate change, it may well have been a lot worse (in terms of lives lost, families and communities broken down, and property loss); I'd hate to imagine what it would be like with these conditions 20 years ago.

Angela Harlem 02-08-2009 04:12 AM

Once again, it's the speed of these fires which struck me. The toll is at 66 now.

Axver 02-08-2009 04:43 AM

The Age is now reporting 76 dead. That's more than Ash Wednesday.

This is the deadliest bushfire in Australian history.

Fucking hell. I've no idea what else to say. Just ... fuck.

blueeyedgirl 02-08-2009 04:44 AM


jonnytakeawalk 02-08-2009 04:51 AM

It's horrific.

I live in a small town near Wangaratta two hours north of Melbourne and the whole town is clouded in smoke and my house stinks of it- not too sure where the nearest fire is though. The cool change reall hasn't hit us here yet though- was still about 36 today

AchtungGirl219 02-08-2009 05:20 AM

I'm glad everyone here is okay... it's just horrific. And there's so little we can do... all I can think to do now is to donate blood, clothes, etc... but nothing and no-one can help those who have lost loved ones... it's just horrendous.

I shuddered today when I heard of the reports of people walking through paddocks, having to euthanise their burnt horses and live-stock. I just can't imagine having to do that...

yolland 02-08-2009 06:02 AM

:( I didn't realize wildfires could move that fast...the fires are expected to all be under control soon, then?

Hope everyone here and their families stay safe.

jonnytakeawalk 02-08-2009 06:17 AM

Death toll is up to 84 now and will most likely rise to over 100


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