Australia burning: bushfire crisis spreads

misskarne

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I wanted to get this out from just the koala thread, because I felt the magnitude of what was going on was being lost in there.

Every state and territory is now on fire. Every single one.

The death toll is somehow small - I believe around 12-14 - but it won't be for long. Three more were lost in Cobargo today. And just last night another volunteer firefighter was killed when a fire tornado picked up his truck and threw it over. His wife is expecting their first baby in May.

The whole country is on fire but NSW and VIC are the worst hit so far. You can see a national map of all the fires here: https://myfirewatch.landgate.wa.gov.au/

NSW:
- 8 fires currently at "emergency" status. This is the worst status - it's too late to leave if you are in the path of these. Cobargo has been destroyed, Cabramurra was just missed. Batemans Bay has been hit and many of the townships along the South Coast have been destroyed, including Mogo (the zoo is okay). The South Coast is cut off entirely - there is no way to get to many of these places by road. Power has failed down there and communications will fail tonight as the backups start running out.

- 7 more fires are at "Watch and Act" status, which basically means, get ready to leave, we don't have control of this beast.

- there are a total of 136 fires currently burning across NSW. While not all of them are out of control, conditions are unfavourable and if they join up...as there is a very good risk many of them will...

- The Dunns Road fire is making its way towards the Snowy Mountains and the alpine region. If this happens, stopping it will be near-impossible without rain. If the wind swings around, this fire will end up in the untouched and tinder-dry national parks that comprise most of the ACT.

VIC:
- 8 fires currently at "emergency" status. Mallacoota has been destroyed. Residents put on lifejackets and grabbed boats and fled onto the water. Many are on beaches, where they are protected by sand and water. These residents are going to be evacuated by the Navy as there's no other way out - it's likely the Navy will be sent to the South Coast as well.

- 3 fires currently at "watch and act". 21 are at "advice" (which basically means "keep an eye on this"). Again, conditions are not favourable and are likely to make this worst. Gusty winds and thunderstorms will not help.

- The entire East Gippsland area was told to get out yesterday. Some did not make it or chose not to leave and are sheltering in place.

Even if fires don't directly threaten, there is also the smoke hazard. Sydney and Canberra have both been choking on the smoke that's like a heavy blanket. At one point last week the air quality where I was was worse than Beijing.

Only rain will save us now...and there is none.
 

overedge

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Thank you for the update @misskarne :(

When I visited Australia, I went on a day trip to the Blue Mountains near Katoomba. I saw a photo earlier this week of some of the forests we hiked through, and was horrified that some of the beautiful views we saw are now just charred trees. I know this is only one little part of the huge devastation that's happened, but it made me :cry:
 

Japanfan

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That was hard to read, @misskarne.

Would it have made any difference if a lot more firefighters were engaged in the battle?

Since this crisis started, I keep thinking that I might go onto my patio (I have a view of the mountains) and see a wall of fire in the distance. It's scary, and it could happen in my lifetime. :wuzrobbed

I want to say something like 'the worst is over' or 'the end will come' or 'stay strong, people of Australia'. But I can't. I just want to cry.
 

misskarne

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Would it have made any difference if a lot more firefighters were engaged in the battle?

In some places, yes. In others, no. More waterbombing aircraft would help.

But Scummo has refused assistance offered by Canada and the US. He says we do not need it. He says the volunteers want to be there. His "assistance package" for volunteers is capped at $6000 and if you are receiving Centrelink you cannot get it. He says it was fine for him to be in Hawaii because "he doesn't hold a hose".

And Clover Moore says that because the world watches Sydney, the fireworks will go ahead, even though there is a total fire ban in place and the nation grieves.

Two of those killed at Cobargo have been named. Robert and Patrick Salway. Father and son. Defending their home. The volunteer who was killed last night has also been named. Samuel McPaul.

When the fireworks go up tonight in Sydney, the flags are half-mast for them.

PS: I'm sorry if I sound so bleak and maudlin right now. This is nothing like anything in my living memory - nor my parents'. A family member is a firefighter. He is exhausted. They all are.
 

Japanfan

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But Scummo has refused assistance offered by Canada and the US. He says we do not need it. He says the volunteers want to be there. His "assistance package" for volunteers is capped at $6000 and if you are receiving Centrelink you cannot get it. He says it was fine for him to be in Hawaii because "he doesn't hold a hose".

What part of 'a leader should lead and support his/her constituents' in a time of crisis' does he not understand?

Appalling. And it is also scary that a world leader could be so stupid and callous.

When the fireworks go up tonight in Sydney, the flags are half-mast for them.

:wuzrobbed (y)

PS: I'm sorry if I sound so bleak and maudlin right now. This is nothing like anything in my living memory - nor my parents'. A family member is a firefighter. He is exhausted. They all are.

No need to apologize. How else could you feel otherwise?

I keep trying to get my head around the fact that Australia is on fire. And it is a sign of times to come for other places. The destruction of our beautiful, incredible, reslilient planet breaks my heart. It will recover of course, or so I believe. But TBH I am glad in a way to be 61, which means I will probably die before we see the worst of it.
 

Lorac

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I have friends and relations in Australia who tell me they have never seen anything quite like this. As @misskarne says Australia regularly has bush fires but this is beyond anything anyone has ever experienced. Seriously how can the PM refuse help from the international community when it is clear the firefighters are beyond exhausted and I'm sure would appreciate any help they can get!!!

I'm aware living on the other side of the world I can do nothing practical but just send my good thoughts and prayers for rain. Stay safe all Australian FSU'ers!!!
 

Cachoo

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Who is this idiot Scummo? Doesn't he realize that firefighters from around the world---including Australia and New Zealand helped in the devastating fires in California in 2018? It is natural to want to help one another in the most difficult circumstances. We are only halfway through the day and I've had my fill with idiots.
 

taz'smum

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Greta Thunberg was so spot on when she said, our house is on fire!
 

BlueRidge

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This is so horrible, I have been reading the news all day, just there are no words, I am so sorry, well that's nothing adequate to say...
 

taz'smum

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I am so sorry, this is just horrific, words mean nothing in such life threatening circumstances.
 

Bunny Hop

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Mr. Habs has an aunt and uncle living in Merimbula. We heard from them yesterday and their pictures are :eek: :eek:
That is near where my husband's sister-in-law and niece live. They may need to evacuate soon
@misskarne is there a relief agency or charity you would suggest for donations? One organization I've been donating to is World Central Kitchen, but I'm not sure if they are operating in Australia.
There is the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief or more options here (including some related to animals).
 

misskarne

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@misskarne is there a relief agency or charity you would suggest for donations? One organization I've been donating to is World Central Kitchen, but I'm not sure if they are operating in Australia.

Red Cross Disaster Relief for the victims. Rural Fire Service as well. The biggest issue for now is that many are trapped and roads are cut off. Hopefully the Navy can get a lot of them out today - but where will they take them? So many places are on fire.

I woke up to the news that my city now has the worst air quality of any major city in the world. Yep, we moved past Dehli, India last night.
 

Peaches LaTour

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I live on the West Coast of the U.S., so I know a lot more about the devastion of runaway wild fires than I ever wanted to. Been all packed up & ready to evacuate, mourned the loss of beloved locations which were reduced to ashes.

My heart goes out to Australia now. I cry with you.
 

Jay42

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I know someone who lives in Australia and she's had to help a couple of different friends and some of her friends animals evacuate from the fires. She's sort of kind of safe from them but her and her mom have evacuation bags ready just in case.
 

Aussie Willy

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Employees at a small Zoo is credited with saving the lives of the animals by in some cases bring them home!
I have visited that Zoo and the nearby town of Mogo many times. The zoo is a great private zoo. So glad to hear it is okay. The same cannot be said for the town. They are very dependent on tourists. Same as the nearby town of Carbago which lost many businesses.
 

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