A Bushfire Diary 1-4(am) January

Recent Vic Emergency Map

1.1.20 Day with smoke haze. Posted blog on fires today – the fourth on fires for the month. Visited friends to discuss how the members of EGCAN had faired with the latest fire advance. Tambo Crossing now surrounded by fire or burnt-out areas. The fires are coalescing slowly into one monster fire area. The Vic Emergency maps changing regularly. I have decided to collect as many of the updated maps to use later in a power point lecture on the bushfires and climate change. Note that the Age and ABC evacuation maps differed. The Age included both Mallacoota and Bairnsdale in the evacuation area. The detail of property losses yet to come out but the Clifton Creek School has gone. I am worried about the Upper Dargo fires from recent lightning strikes. They, and if the current fires move towards Bullumwaal, are a direct threat to the town. There is a certain amount of anxiety in the family about the threat. My daughter, currently living in Hamburg, has been urging me to leave before the next bad day – predicted to be Saturday. She quoted (with emphasis) from the current watch status “With UNPREDICTABLE fire conditions due to the weather there is still a potential for conditions to change for the worse VERY QUICKLY”.

2.1.20 Quiet day in the smoke. Saturday starting to look ominous and fires edging towards Bullumwaal to our north. Forecast for a quieter week and some rain afterwards. Deciding whether to remove ourselves (and the cat) to Stratford or some relatively safer place further west. Have just heard artist friend Bob Logie’s place in Ensay has burned after the fires came through a second time. Bob did an art show on the Gippsland massacres about 2 years ago and we have one of his prints on our wall. My anger at the politicians, the Murdoch media, the coal barons and other climate criminals is intense. Have just tweeted a Michael Mann article. Obviously we have to work a lot harder on climate. My blog one month ago on bushfires predictions by Tom Beer and the 1987 Monash conference had 1200 views in the last 24 hours. Longer term not too promising as the fires join together and new ones pop up. Despite preparing for the worst case the authorities undermanned and underprepared for this. Or perhaps it is impossible to prepare for.

3.1.20 Smoke again and eerily quiet. Marg left for family farm in south Gippsland. My Tom Beer blog had over 2K views yesterday. Murdoch media continue with their criminal politicising of the climate emergency. Great series of maps on east gippy’s bushfire history posted on twitter by Tom Fairman. The PM rumoured to be coming to Bairnsdale hopefully someone can voice their displeasure at the political failure of the last 10 years. Started cleaning the gutters and putting a bit of water on the roof. A much bigger job than I anticipated. Chatted to friends and neighbours. We are in the centre of town so relatively secure in the short term. Perhaps we might cop a few burning embers.

4.1.20 A wake-up call from Germany at 3.30am. The north winds yet to arrive. Slept in my clothes on the couch overnight. Warned I may get some ‘climate refugees’ from out of town. Still quiet 8.30am waiting for the North wind. The smoke suppressing the temperatures (19 C). Giving the roof a bit of a hose. Blocked gutter outlets. Ear to the radio but turn-off talkback as want information only. The leader of the opposition mentioned climate change on ABC. Hooray! And Hooray for the ABC!