Monday, February 09, 2009

Bushfires 2009

Here is a satellite image of a town called Marysville. Situated in the beautiful and scenic mountains of Victoria. As you can see the town is formed in a clearing that is surrounded on all sides by forest colloquially known as bush.
I've been to Marysville and most of the towns that have now been devastated by fire.
As beautiful as nature might be, the thought of living there has always been tempered by the reality of the possibility of bush fires.

There is nothing new about bush fires in Australia. They occur every summer. Some years are worse than others. Those who choose to live amongst nature take a very big risk with their lives.
There doesn't seem to be many options if you live in a place like Marysville. Do you stay in the event of a bushfire or do you flee? The question is really academic because of the speed with which a fire can spread. Fleeing isn't an option as roads become blocked with falling trees and visibility is nil with smoke and dust choking the atmosphere. In fact there is no time to decide to flee even if danger is imminent. A sudden change of wind and what was a safe passage becomes a death trap.
The sight of abandoned, crashed and burn't vehicles on the roads tells the story. It is tragic beyond comprehension.
Those of us who live in the suburbs are not in danger. That's the choice we make. It's mind boggling that people would choose to live in such dangerous, albeit beautiful environment.
Nobody who knows Australia should be surprised. Shocked yes, but never surprised.
Since the first settlers set foot on this land, people have carried images of a more gentle country, a less brutal and less unforgiving land than what is Australia.
Will we ever learn to respect and fear the viciousness of nature and the land that is Australia?

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Jeannie said...

We don't hear much in the news about Australia here but the bushfires have come through. It must be really bad this year. We hear a lot about fires out west here and in the states.

I guess that people who live near danger, and there are many, must just close down that part of their brain as protection or they wouldn't live there. That goes for inevitable flooding (Like New Orleans), active volcanos, earthquake (bye bye California), tornadoes, hurricanes and fires. I suppose if a place makes us happy, or a living, we accept the risk.

Culturist John said...

I heard that it was arson and that they caught two people. Any news on that front?

Lexcen said...

The two suspects arrested have been released but another man has been arrested.
No doubt, society is keen to put the blame somewhere. Other than the firebugs, blame is being directed at government for preventing the clearing of forest. Government is considering laws to forbid the new construction of timber houses in high risk areas. Talk of safety bunkers is also being considered.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem Lex. Looking to the government to provide a "solution". Best "live" with the tragedies you've got, then give bureaucratic idiots the power to create even bigger tragedies in the future.