Fire Danger

while my own area, the Tararua, tends to the median in weather (other people get floods, we get a fair bit of rain, other people get drought, we have a dryish season) right now I’m starting to worry a little. In Australia they have raging fires, something that for almost 30 years I’ve watched in horror over summers and hoped all my Ausssie friends will be fine. But this year I had a feeling by the end of 2016 that it could be going to be more than just dry here and in early February I sold off all my surplus sheep, cutting right back to just the breeding ewes.
Right now Australia is getting its ferocious summer fires, the problem is that for once, while they haven’t hit us – yet – they’re closing in. Hawkes Bay, less than an hour’s drive from me, is in flames. Massive vegetation fires, houses destroyed, acres of farmland and bush lost, and now – a life too. A helicopter pilot, risking his own life to combat the fires, crashed. And all the while the fires are growing, and coming slowly closer. I think we’ll be allright in the end, but there are no guarantees.
Back in 1888, people here probably thought the same thing. And of course, there was a lot more bush then, fewer people, and they didn’t have the superbly trained, equiped, and organised, volunteer firefighters we have here now. (Down at the station last weekend admiring new engines, water tanker, and gear.) That year in 1888, Norsewood (and Ormondville) burned. people died in the fires, houses burned, as did stables, barns filled with hay and oats, local stores, churches and vicarages, the school and teacher’s house along with the small local brewery.
And now I wonder as I look at the current photos of burning land and houses that fill our local newspaper, and consider the pilot who died trying to save others, if 1888 isn’t repeating. And if so, I’m deeply thankful for neighbours who’ll help each other, our firefighters, and my insurance. And having said and published that, it’s now likely it’ll rain for days. Because that’s the way life is – or at least, that’s what I’m hoping. It’s worked that way before and we need the rain, because if my house burns down, how the heck will I ever find copies of my 7,469 books to replace my library? (Not to mention the cat won’t like living somewhere else – and nor will I) AND if I have to flee, while I can take the cat and make a run for it, how the heck do you load five ewes, nine hens, a rooster and five geese on a mobility scooter? So, if the fires get any worse, life is going to become ‘interesting’ in a Chinese curse kind of way, and I really don’t have time for that.

1 comment

    • Rodney Marsden on 15 February 2017 at 12:40

    I don’t live near fire danger. Hope you will be okay.

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