Monday, February 9, 2009

Something in the air

No wonder it felt hotter than a hairdryer on its hottest setting being blown directly in your face whenever you stepped outside last Saturday in Victoria. The scene was absolutely ripe for a fire of record magnitude. But even so, I'd never have dreamed it would get this horrific.

(As a quick aside) I'm so sorry to continue on this one topic for days now. I just can't see anything else in front of me. Even mothering my delicious little LGBB has been a test beyond any previous measure for me in these past days, I don't know quite why it is affecting me so - perhaps I'm still rather shell-shocked a little from what could very nearly have been our own personal loss of property, had it not been for skilful and available resources and a wind direction change (they've said since on the radio that the blaze near us was deliberately swiftly dealt with, given the locale and higher density population - we're not classified as rural like so many of these other razed towns). I'd not been expecting the fire to come quite so close as it did in the time it took. As well, it is to honour the tremendous loss of life, the displacement, the harrowing trauma for the survivors. Thinking of the children and how they will be affected, possibly for life, by what they've seen and heard and endured. Not to mention the adults.

Latest reports in have confirmed that (I thought my ears were imagining things when I heard this on the local Emergency Radio station 774FM report on Sunday):

UNPRECEDENTED weather conditions made it impossible for authorities to predict the extent of Victoria's horrific bushfires, experts say.

The fire danger indices, based on a range of variables and used by authorities and climatologists to determine the intensity of a blaze, reached uncharted levels on Saturday.

A rating of 100 indicates that a fire would be uncontrollable, according to David Jones from the Bureau of Meteorology.

On Saturday, it reached 400.

"The general idea about the forest fire danger index is that it rates the speed of the fire," Dr Gill said. "But when it reaches unprecedented levels, it's hard to know what the relationship with speed and spread becomes."

FOUR HUNDRED!!! We never stood a chance. And still, the facts will not ever fully and clearly demonstrate just how ferocious those winds, the heat, were. Consider also that humidity was merely 3%, or so it was reported yesterday. Virtually zero air moisture. It was simply Nature at its most monstrous, yelling loud and clear. But yelling what, exactly? Just what are we meant to hear? These are the times when my trust and faith is sorely tested.

And the most unfathomable creatures playing God amongst us all.

With 130 people confirmed dead, just fifteen of those have been identified so far. My heart and thoughts go out to everyone still waiting to hear about the people they love and fear for. It's going to be such an agonising wait. Authorities have warned it might take weeks to confirm fatalities.

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