Would we have stayed?

New Years Eve turned out a little more stressful than expected. We hadn’t planned a trip into the city to watch the fireworks, rather a peaceful yummy dinner at home and staying to watch the TV coverage. You only miss out on the physical part of the fireworks – the thumps and thuds of the explosions.

About 6pm I was attracted to some sirens that sounded like they were getting close. We have a main road nearby and often emergency vehicles do use it and it can sound quite close. This sounded closer so I glanced out the window to see a fire truck come up the street, heading to the bush about 15 houses down.

With the current climate, it was with some dread that I looked down the road. About 40 mins ago, the wind had changed from a light NE breeze (that was really hot) to a strong southerly (but still, really a breeze) that had already dropped us from the 40ish to low 30s. There was a strong line of smoke from the bush to the south east of our house, perhaps a km away.

This is the view from my front door. The fire is just the other side of the trees in the far background, and burning fiercely, though we didn’t know that.

From our place it was hard to see exactly how big or where the fire was. And for about the next hour it stayed pretty much as seen above. In the meantime, several fire trucks came and went and many police cars. As well as many spectators. We also got a Fire Dept warning on our mobiles to seek shelter. It sounded pretty bad.

We made some plans to leave. I started to organise some belongings while Mrs Mab called a friend to see if they could put us up. I had no plans to fight any fire, we would leave. In this densely packed suburb, there is a lot to burn, houses go up really fast (and burn well with lots of terrible smoke) and there would be no real way out. Staying would be stupid if it came to that.

After about an hour the fire was marked down to Yellow alert, so we prepared dinner. By after dinner it had become Blue, the lowest threat. Still kept an eye on it, but the wind had pushed it away. It wasn’t until we saw some news coverage of the blaze, just over the hill, that we saw what we had narrowly avoided.

This was just over the hill out of sight.
It’s amazing that this massive smoke looked so small and of little concern from our view.

The next morning the mini Mabs and I headed down the cycle path to see what we could after the fire.

What we certainly didn’t expect was for the fire to still be going and have actually come closer to our house, now perhaps 500m.

What we found the next day. The firies are just out of shot on the left.

But instead of tree height flames, these were a much less threatening hip height or less. The firies seemed to be monitoring rather than actually fighting it. However there were several spots, including at the end of a cross street only perhaps 10-15 houses away. Again, these were well attended.

So as we go into New Years Day afternoon, the fires are still burning. We have some things gathered in case we need to leave, but mostly its a watch and wait. If the wind picks up and especially if it turns more westerly, I think we might just leave.

Update: (Saturday 4th Jan). The fires continued to abate and it seems the danger has passed. Though there are still fires burning in the forest nearby, these seem to be smouldering trees that aren’t of much concern. We will see what happens today (strong winds and very high temps predicted). Monday it’s supposed to actually rain.

Author: Mabaho

I'm a married dad who likes to ride my motorbike and if I ever find the time, to play computer games. This blog started out as just WoW, but has moved onto a whole lot of different things.

One thought on “Would we have stayed?”

  1. I’m with you. The house is insured … grab the stuff that can’t be replaced (for me a backup hard drive of photos) and a few other essential and get out of there.
    I know the threat of the fires in the snowy mountains have put a lot of Canberrans on edge.

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