This is by far the worst bushfire season I can recall. Now I know my “bushfire memory” only goes back to about 1998, but even with a few big ones in that time (like the Winmalee fire, the massive Canberra fire and one over near Holsworthy) I feel like this is worse. Because each fire is lasting a long time, there are so many at once and they started “early”.
Smoke has affected Sydney, especially Western Sydney (where I work and live) almost every day, for over 4 weeks now. Some days its not bad, but other days it’s like a thick, chocking fog. Even here, more than 40kms for the nearest fire, I’ve had ash a few cm long falling on my car and house. We’ve had fine white ash for days now.
One of the worst at the moment is the fire north of the city. It has burned through over 300,000 hectares (that’s bigger than greater Sydney) since it started over a month ago. It has merged with two other fires as well. All along several of my favourite riding routes people have been evacuated and roads closed. The Putty has been shut for almost three full weeks now. I don’t know how places like Grey Gums, the petrol at Colo Heights and other places are doing. I think that they are safe so far.
I keep hoping they’ll open up and then I want to get a few fellow riders from work to go up and at least show some support. But the road stays shut.
Alongside the Putty, the road on the northern side of Wiseman’s Ferry is shut, all the way to Mangrove Mountain. The road from Broke, through Wollombi and to Bucketty is shut too.
Further away, there are fires near Canberra and Bateman’s Bay. I don’t know if any homes have been lost, but I suspect that especially in the Bay fire that some have, it’s just too close to those towns to have been able to save everything.
So the worst bushfires I can remember (and many others as well) are just going on and on. It’s only early December and the summer heat hasn’t started yet. I just hope the fireies can keep going!