As the previous posts have extensively covered, large areas of Victoria are still burning. People have died, undoubtedly more than have been found so far. Communities (the physical parts of them, at least) are being destroyed. At the moment, the air in Melbourne is full of ash, because of an anticyclonic system sweeping weather down from the north. The sun has this eerie yellow-orange light, that most of us here remember from the last huge bushfires (not that long ago at all).
Some news sources have breathlessly listed the donations made by “Corporate Australia”, $14 million combined from the richest corporations by my latest count; fairly piddling, token amounts, considering the proportion of the countrys wealth controlled by some of these contributors (i suggested they donate their entire tax savings since Howard came to office… it seems fair). As usual for this sort of thing, “Non-Corporate” Australia has been far more impressive, reaching the $50 million mark – a level that is actually going to make some kind of a dent in the damage that has been done, though more is still needed.
You can donate at the Australian Red Cross website.
I have a friend who has been in view of the fires; in Warrandyte, on the edge of the suburbs. He’s described some pretty terrifying sights, like being able to watch individual gum trees explode (eucalyptus oils + heat) through his binoculars. They’re not very far away at all.
Have been tracking down information on Flowerdale, the town where i grew up (we moved when i was eight). It’s apparently been pretty badly hit, do a Google search for the town right now and you’ll find more of those nightmarish pictures of burnt out cars sitting in the middle of the road.
After we moved, the people who bought our old house let a whole bunch of trees grow up close to the house itself. I remember my parents commenting on that. It’s a fairly dangerous thing to do. I only spent Prep and Grade 1 there, but in school we had it drummed into us that you don’t let leaf litter get near the house, among other things.
I wonder how they are. I hope they’re okay. I might drive up in winter, when i won’t be getting in the way of emergency crews (or fires), and see if the house is still there.