Thursday, August 16, 2018

Another Winter Bushfire

On Saturday I noticed on the ‘Fires Near Me” app (an essential for rural living) there was a bush fire to the north and west of us in the foothills of the Budawang Ranges. It was in  rugged but not inaccessible country and both National Park and RFS firees were there. The word was the fire was ‘under control’.
On Tuesday night however the wind got up and by the next morning it was gale force from the north west gusting between 60 and 100km/hr.

The Mt. Kingiman Fire (as it became known) came howling out of the mountains towards the town of Ulladulla and its southern suburbs.
We could see smoke to our north but thankfully we were not in the direct path of the fire.
An emergency situation was declared and rural properties to our west plus the suburbs of Kings Point and Burrill Lake were ordered to evacuate. The fire was spotting kilometers ahead of itself into those suburbs. The town was filled with smoke.

So water bombing helicopters were in the air (how difficult flying conditions were in that wind?) and hundreds of Rural Fire Service volunteers were on the ground.
It was a nerve racking day.
By nightfall 1500ha (3750acres) had been burnt but there had been no loss of life or property. The RFS as usual did an amazing job.
The wind dropped overnight and allowed some containment.

But today winds are predicted to be moderate so some flare ups can be expected.
The drought has made New South Wales a tinderbox. The fire map shows how many are burning along the entire coast line.
The Mt. Kingiman Fire                             NSW Fire Map                                  

No rain is predicted for the near future so we will have to be continually on alert.
Update: 19/08/18
For two days the winds dropped which allowed firefighters to contain the fire and back burn.
However yesterday the winds got up again and we went into another emergency status.
The fire broke through containment lines and continued its journey to the coast.
Somehow it was again contained by the efforts of those on the ground and in the air.
But it came at a cost. Sadly one of the helicopters crashed killing the very experienced pilot.
Today is also predicted to be windy.
Unless we get rain soon then I think this will be the daily pattern.
So far the fire has burnt out 2200ha (5500 acres).
Exhausted Firefighter         Photo: J.Hanscombe, Milton Ulladulla Times

Update: 2/09/18
The fire is still smouldering but under control. The forecasted rain that would put the fire out has not materialised. Light ineffective showers have been the order of the day. The bushfire season has been officially declared a month early.
This summer could be nasty.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Canberra Quilt Show 2018

click on any pic to enlarge

Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Trip to the Canberra Quilt Show

Once again we travelled up over the Great Dividing Range and headed for Canberra and their annual Quilt Show (pics in upcoming post).
The drought is much worse on the highlands. Not a green blade of grass to be seen and dams dry. Roadkill, while normally bad on the Braidwood to Queanbeyan stretch, is now in plague proportions. Wombat and kangaroo carcasses litter the verge. The wild life are desperate for water too. You would have to be crazy to drive this road from dusk to dawn when those animals are active.
The show itself was well organised as usual with some very impressive work on display.
The co driver won a third prize in the open art quilt section.

I left her to her wanderings and headed to the Australian War Memorial.
I had found a World War 1 service medal in my mothers belongings with her mother’s brothers name inscribed on it and thought it a good idea to try and trace his history.
The AWM combines a shrine and a world-class museum.

The two rolls of honour walls in the cloisters, either side of the pool. contain the names of over 102000 who have lost their lives in the service of their country. The entire west wall lists the 66000 killed during WW1 so it was a daunting task to find his name as they are listed by battalion. A lady docent with an iPad with all the records asked if she could help and we soon located him.

Robert S. Spiller killed in action in France in 30th September 1918 a mere 6 weeks before the armistice and buried at the Bellicourt British Cemetery, Bellicourt, Picardie, France.

The roll shows the names only, not rank or other awards, as "all men are equal in death". Visiting relatives and friends insert poppies in the gaps between the bronze plaques, beside the names of those they wish to honour.
For Australia, the First World War remains the costliest conflict in terms of deaths and casualties. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men enlisted, of whom 66000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.
After checking in at the Adina we met up with a friend for dinner at the Malaysian Rasa Sayang in suburban Dickson, Canberra’s Asian restaurant hub.
It was a great meal as usual. After some spring roll, curry puff and dim sim starters we got serious with beef rendang, pork baba, nasi goreng and har chong chicken.
Next morning the city was enveloped in dense fog (and -2C temp) so we took our time over breakfast before heading out. Bright sunshine finally welcomed us in Queanbeyan a few kilometres out of the capital.

We were soon back in Braidwood for a coffee and to purchase the world’s best lamingtons at the bakery.
Then it was back down the Clyde Mountain pass and home.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

A Day of Excitement

It started out as a normal day.
Weather was very windy as predicted. This plus the extreme dry caused by the drought meant a bad fire day.
No one would be so stupid as to start a so called controlled burn would they?
Yes, the farmer a few blocks behind us did.
He was the one who caused the big bush fire we had in 2009.
We could see smoke rising over us but someone had already reported it.
This is never a good thing to see in our area.
The local rural fire brigade was soon on the job and had a couple of trucks up there to put the runaway fire out.
I talked to the fire chief on his way out. What he said about our neighbour is unprintable.
He is apparently an annual problem for them and being the descendant of one of the pioneer families in the area doesn’t think the law applies to him.
So settling down to an early bottle of wine to steady the nerves, I got a call from my adjoining neighbour.

Our cows were acting funny, had something surrounded, were very agitated and making lots of noise.
I went to investigate.
When they saw me, they came charging up and then turned and ran back to the original spot as much as to say “here, here!
There I found a very young, tiny and frightened baby kangaroo (a joey) trying to hide in the grass. It had obviously been abandoned by its mother.
So I wrapped it up in my jacket and brought it up to the house.
She (as it turned out to be) was a quivering wreck but after a hour’s nursing she quietened down.
Once a father, always a father!
The co driver called the native animal rescue service, WIRES, and they came a few hours later to pick her up.
The kangaroos are suffering from a lack of feed caused by the drought and have ‘invaded’ the more populated areas.
What happened to the mother we will never know but ‘our girl’ is now in safe hands.
She will be reared by the carer to a stage when she can be released back into the wild.