Saturday, 5 January 2013

Oh What a Night!

Yesterday began like any other Friday, pottered about, then decided to travel to a nearby town to get some food and the Lotto tickets. While driving there, I noticed smoke over one of the hills and it was looking fierce. It was already 41C and the air conditioner in the car was working overtime. On my return, I was about to turn into the only road that takes me into my beach side village when I was stopped by the police. She told me that I could get home but no where else as every other road around the district was closed due to the bushfires which had taken a severe turn as the wind was getting stronger and stronger. When I got home I suggested that we pack up and leave to the bearded wonder, as the road I had just traveled was still open but for how long I didn't know, but he was reluctant to leave. I started to worry when I looked out my back door and saw this...
 We were listening to radio updates about what we should do and they suggested that we go to the beach for safety, but as it was so hot, we decided to stay home for as long as we felt safe, as we had air conditioning there. It gave us more time to plan what to take and to tidy up anything that might be flammable near the house. I loaded a container with food for my chooks and made sure they had plenty of water.  During the day they were receiving mistings of cold water to try to alleviate any heat stress. 

Finally at 5.30pm the police turned up at the door and suggested we get out then and there. So we turned up at the beach complete with chairs, esky, food, radio,pillows and blanket. It was still too damn hot so we both took to the water, in our clothes, to cool off.  

Most of the neighbours had left town while they had the chance but one lot stayed like we did and joined us on the beach. It was quite a social occasion, sharing food and drinks and chatting away, meanwhile answering our phones to people who were concerned for our well being.
  As the sun went down, the reality of the situation was beginning to hit home. Through radio reports we learned that a neighbouring town had lost 65 buildings including the school, a petrol station and the police station. There is a canal through the town and people had reportedly jumped in the canal and had to stay in the water for 3 hours till the danger passed. There were people missing and one believed dead. The sky was glowing red behind us. 
 Later in the evening our neighbour cooked up a feed of fresh flathead which he had caught earlier that morning. How delicious! Then the firies came and told everyone at the beach to move to the other end of the beach as the fire was getting mighty close. The smoke was thick and I was relieved that my asthma was not triggered by it. 

By the time we got to the other end of the beach it was dark and there were people everywhere and several cars on the beach. We tried to find a spot that we could settle in and be safe away from accidently being run over. We lay there listening to the radio which was all about the fires, people looking for their loved ones and information to help people in other areas that other fires were heading for. People had their dogs and I even saw 2 Shetland ponies tied to a cars bumper with a huge bucket of water for them to drink. We watched the flames coming closer and the sky turning blood red and the trees being engulfed. I took this photo of the moon coming up over the fire front but as I was only using my iphone, the redness didn't show up.
 While on the beach we saw a flotilla of boats sail in to save anyone that wanted to go with them, but we decided to stay because if we'd gone we would have been stuck somewhere else without out car or food. But many people took them up on their offer. I heard on the radio that over 1000 people from all over the peninsula had been ferried to safety by the volunteers that came out in their boats.

At 1.30am, a cold change came through and we could see the fire blowing back on itself which was great as it was now going away from our house. We were too cold on the beach as our 1 blanket wasn't even pretending to add any warmth against the cold, gusting winds so we opted for sitting in our car where we had a great view of the fire which was heading our way. There was no sleeping for me as I thought I had better remain alert incase we needed to dash to the beach again for safety. The bearded wonder however, slept like a baby. 

When the sun came up at 5am, I could see across the bay and see my house safe and sound and all I wanted was to get back to it to sleep in my own bed BUT we hadn't been told that it was safe to go. The bearded wonder decided that we should go for a drive and see what was happening when we came across the police and they gave us permission to go home. I was concerned as I could see the flames still but I thought we would have an evacuation notice later if things turned bad. We fell into bed at 5.30am and slept till nine when the phones went mad with family needing to know our wellbeing. 

We are still stuck in this town and don't know when the road will be ready for us to leave. The people who are left are all going fishing as I sit here and watch boat after boat go passed my window.

 I am so fortunate that I am a food stockpiler and whatever the eventuation, I will have enough for 3 months if the power doesn't go off. Looking forward to a peaceful day. The fire is still going but the wind has stilled. Hopefully we will not have a repeat tonight.


  1. Thank for keeping us updated...thinking of you both, Kaz xx

  2. I am so happy that you and your home are ok.
    What a frightening time for you.
    Jane M from Simple Savings.

  3. What a frightening experience for you both! How terrible that people have died and lost homes in your state. I am a follower of your blog by email but it takes a while (usually the day after) for the posts to be emailed, so after I read your email about the fire, I went straight to your blog.
    Hopefully the road out will open soon.

  4. Oh Deb, what a relief. I worried about you all night and day. I still have friends stuck down in Nubeena and Dunalley but I know that they're okay. Dover is full of smoke but it must be the smoke from the Derwent Valley fire as we have no nearby fires - yet.
    Good luck in the coming days/weeks. I hope Aurora can cope with all the downed poles and that we never have another HOT WINDY day like yesterday again!

  5. Been watching the news, it's awful but glad you are OK.


  6. How terrible and frightening!!!!

  7. I too am a follower of your other blog and have been concerned about you and your familys safety. thanks for letting us know you are all well.

  8. When I saw the images on the news last night and how close the fire was to beachside property my first thoughts were of you and the bearded wonder. Glad to hear you are both safe and have not suffered any property loss.

  9. glad to hear that your home is OK, sounds like it all happened very quickly. hope today is a better day.

  10. Not something nice to experience glad you are both ok.

  11. so glad you are safe and well ....

  12. Crikey BB that's a bit too much like an adventure!! As you say - a well-stocked pantry ...

  13. I've just come from John's blog, what a terrible time for you. I see the fires on the news, thank you for telling us how it is for you. I hope your home and you stays safe.

  14. thank God that you are both Ok and that your house was saved. I know this is a week later but I am guessing that you are still ok. My husband was in the 1967 fires and remembers vividly what that was like so it must have been very scary for you and your man.