Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Who is the Fire Starter? Hey! Hey! Hey!

October 1 marks the beginning of the bushfire season – strictly speaking it continues until 31 March . . .Australia wide. Fire bans are in place. It is illegal to have an open fire without a permit. In some areas, a Total Fire Ban is in place which means no flame of any kind, even a gas-fired Barbecue for fear of precipitating a flaming event.

Households in wooded areas and those surrounded by dry grassland are clearing around their homes, cleaning their gutters and ensuring they have extra hoses connected to the swimming pool, just in case.

This is serious folks. We are in our 10th year of drought and the warmer than usual winter means that little back burning has been achieved by the rural fire service. To compound things, September and October are notoriously windy months . . . and we’ve just come out of our driest September in 20 years.

Only four years ago, BabySis had Elvis dipping into the dam at the end of the street, packed up the kids and a few belongings and moved in with us for two days for fear their house would burn. Nothing could stop the ravaging monster climbing the ravine and indeed, that year, many homes were lost in the local area.

Needless to say, the long weekend was plagued by the outbreak of fire. It’s like someone announces the fire bans and the arsehole arsonists come out of the woodwork to declare open season. . yes . . Every single major fire in NSW (there are now three large fronts burning) was deliberately lit. Whether it’s some fool actually trying to be destructive or an inconsiderate motorist tossing a cigarette but from a car . . . in these hot winds, it can be devastating . . . even glass litter can start a fire . . . One thing for sure, it wasn’t lightening activity. . the storm season has not started.

We even had our own little drama on an overgrown block about 500 metres from our place. It’s never mown or maintained and as Adam and the Fringelet drove down the street from the bottle shop on Monday . . plumes of smoke were rising from the grassland. He called the fire brigade and within half an hour the whole corner was ablaze. For us, a bit of easily controlled excitement (again we suspect it was deliberately lit as this block goes up once or twice a year and nobody lives on it) but for people living in heavily wooded areas, it’s devastating. Gum trees are flammable . . more so than any other thanks to the high alcohol content in their leaves, they also constantly shed twigs, leaves, branches so a hazard reduction policy is essential . . the ground litter is dry as a bone and yet there is always a wanker who thinks it’s fun to ignite.

I’m really sick of this. It’s not just the houses involved, the people, the lost lives and memorabilia, it’s the livestock, the water pollution, the air pollution and the sheer irresponsibility of some people when it comes to lighting fires. I know this sounds rich coming from someone who was recently shut down for not having a permit but that was a pre-season burn and it was contained and safe. All precautions had been met, there was no wind and it was a cool, damp night

. . . 14 years jail isn’t good enough for these dickheads and as we approach another summer with predicted high temperatures, north easterly winds and an 11th successive year of low rainfall . . they should be burned on their own pyres!

Now crank this up . . .(I just like it!)


Grannymar said...

meanwhile, we at this end of the world continue to build the Ark!

We have no idea what it is like to be short of water. Bet there is nobody in Ireland who can shower in only 4 minutes

Nonny said...

Some people are absolute idiots, there really is no need for that level of stupidity. I really thought lightening was the start of most fires, I cannot believe people would intentionally light a fire when they know the potential for innocent people to lose their lives or homes.

Incidentally do you get insurance for that kind of thing?

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Yep, our fire season has also officially started. Fortunately we've had a very wet winter but there is a mass of invasive alien growth all over the mountains (Australian invasives I might add and you know how flammable they are...) and little is being done to clear it. On top of that the indigenous fynbos is fire intensive flora - so actually likes to have a good burn. And yep, here like there, it's always some idiot who starts the fire - either deliberately or carelessly. And we're down to one fire-fighting helicopter. Oh fun and games.

Baino said...

GM: Drummer boy has no idea how to have a 4 minute shower either!

Nonny: Lightening is a problem from about December when we have lots of summer storms but not at the moment, just hot winds and yes you can insure but it doesn't compensate for losing your heirlooms, photos etc.

Van: Yep same sort of environment I imagine. We rent our big guys from the states and usually have two or three from December.

Clare & Jem's Excellent Adventures said...

Its so weird how on days like yesterday you can almost feel the fire in the air. Annual bushfires are natural in Australia, most plants need it to reproduce, but not at the frequency we get them. Little buggers arrested in the Blue Mountains for starting a fire - where are their mothers??

Ryan said...

I saw this the other day as i was driving along Windsor Road and to find out it was suspected to be deliberately lit. I'm as much a young firebug as anyone (as you have probably witnessed over the past few years burning up your backyard ;)) but only in a controlled environment. Makes me understand why you are cautious about the testosterone filled boys up the back with a big pile of wood and a pack of matches, itching for the petrol so we can get a bigger 'bang'. Really makes me respect that you are looking out for both us and everyone else around.