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Bushfires break through!!!

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
We are bathed in a blanket of ash, smoke and hot winds! I am finding it hard to breath and the heat is amazing! Please send us positive thoughts!!!

Bushfires break through
Saturday, 18 January 2003

Fires have escaped containment lines in the ACT (Canberra)and are running out of control, with rural properties along the Namadgi National Park now at risk in the continuing ferocious conditions.

Tourists were evacuated last night from Thredbo as fires in the Kosciuszko National Park started to bear down on the alpine village, also forcing the cancellation of this weekend's blues festival.

Firefighters were last night battling to protect rangers' homes in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve as all three fires in the Namadgi National Park were spreading out of control.

The $40 million Uriarra pine plantation in the ACT was last night vulnerable to a spot fire burning 2km away, which had escaped the containment lines around the McIntyre's Hut fire in NSW.

The flames were last night about 12km from the outskirts of Canberra. Fire was burning both sides of Mount Franklin Road.

Wind gusts up to 65km/h and on-the-ground temperatures in the mid-40s created hellish conditions yesterday that forced firefighters to be called off the Stockyard Spur, McIntyre's Hut and Bendora fires for their own safety.

There appears to be no respite in sight with fire authorities facing a top temperature today of 38 degrees, winds up to 35km/h and no chance of rain.

Strong north-westerly winds will again send smoke across the city. Burnt leaves were falling in the suburbs yesterday. Health warnings were again issued.

Emergency Services Bureau executive director Mike Castle said last night the situation was serious, as efforts turned from trying to control the fires to protecting property.

''It's the worst conditions we've ever had,'' he said.

''Normally, there might be adverse conditions for 24 hours and then something changes. This looks like continuing for three or four days.''

The whole of the Namadgi National Park has been closed until further notice. Winds were so strong they caused spotting over the Corin Dam.

Properties in the Brindabella Valley were again under threat.

NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Cameron Wade said the Broken Cart Creek fire burning near Tumut had moved into the Yarrowlumla shire and was threatening properties in the Brindabella Valley.

The poor conditions also forced the bushfire logistical support staging areas to be relocated last night from Bulls Head and Orroral Valley, to the North Curtin District playing fields, resulting in these fields being closed to the public.

ACT Bushfire and Emergency Services director Peter Lucas-Smith urged most rural property owners to stay put and fight the fires if they were able.

''They've probably already made decisions in relation as to who should stay and who should go,'' he said.

''And I would encourage them. If there are people there that are fit and competent they should stay with their property to protect their property because structures generally burn down as a result of embers which get caught in crevices and so forth.''

Firefighting efforts were hampered on Thursday night when an ACT Bushfire tanker fell through a bridge, blocking access to the Stockyard Spur fire and preventing NSW firefighters from doing any backburning.

''The threat from the conditions over the next few days is going to be quite significant for our firefighters on the fire line,'' Mr Lucas-Smith said.

''Safety and welfare of our people is paramount in our minds at all times and we are ensuring our people on the fire ground always have escape routes.''

The fires have burnt out more than 8000ha of the Namadgi.

There are now 450 people working around-the-clock on the ACT fires. Another 1100 personnel are seconded to the fires in southern NSW. The ACT will seek more assistance from NSW if the fires get too out of hand.

''The fires have been very difficult to control,'' Mr Lucas-Smith said. ''We've got our containment lines in, we're working from those and the conditions are certainly going to make it a fairly arduous task over the next four or five days.''

Mr Wade said there was a concern for the Uriarra pines.

"We have seen spotting activity up to a kilometre, a kilometre and a half with these fires so we have staged resources on the border,'' he said.

The fires in the Kosciuszko National Park have been described as the worst in 50 years.

The highest town in Australia - Cabramurra, a settlement of 150 people deep within the north-west corner of the park was being protected last night by firefighters. Most residents work for the Snowy Hydro.

This is the scene from our front yard!!!!
post #2 of 77
Thread Starter 
And another one!
post #3 of 77
Thread Starter 
This was posted at 1.o6pm today, the photos were taken just after 2pm!!! It is now almost night like and it is 2.50pm!

Bushfires edging closer to Canberra
Bushfires burning in the Namadgi National Park to the west of Canberra are now less than 10 kilometres from the capital.

Contingencies are being put in place to protect the urban fringe.

Firefighters have pulled back from the fire front in the Namadgi National Park and are now concentrating on rural property protection.

With searing temperatures and strong winds, firefighters expect rapid growth in the fire in coming days.

But the Emergency Services Bureau believes the fire will become easier to contain as it leaves forest areas and enters grasslands.

Residents on the western side of Canberra are being warned to prepare for the approaching fires taking all precautions to protect their homes.
post #4 of 77
I'm sending lots of positive thoughts (and lots of our snow) to you right now!
post #5 of 77
ACk! Lots of positive thoughts and prayers zooming your way!

I hope you and yours will be okay!

post #6 of 77
Oh my gosh!! I can't believe those pictures. I'm sending tons of good thoughts your way Leslie. I hope everything turns out alright. Wow. That is just crazy. Stay inside! I hope you and your family are ok!

Sending even more good vibes to clear up!!!
post #7 of 77
Thread Starter 
Okay I had to disconnect! The phones are so busy! I have candles ready! I can't get Harry or Amy inside! I can't breath! Pete had to get me a puffer! It is scary! The sky is black and red!!! We have been declared a state of emergency! The fires are behind us now! We are a distance away but the live embers are a worry! I am on my own with the cats! We have started losing houses in some parts of Canberra! This is horrible! I have never seen anything like it!

Photo as of 3pm, it's now 3.45pm and it is to dark to see now!
post #8 of 77
Thread Starter 
post #9 of 77
Thread Starter 
Hayley and I, notice the ash floating around
post #10 of 77
Thread Starter 
post #11 of 77
Thread Starter 
I am crying!!!!!!!! It feels like it is closing in!!!!! It is everywhere!!!!!!

I am going off line for a while!

We have the radio on and there is just a continuous alerts now!! Thank you for you prayers and thoughts. I just can't believe this! We have now been listed as on of the suburbs to stay alert and prepare!!!

Oh my god!

I love you all!!!
post #12 of 77
Be safe..... all of you!
post #13 of 77
Those photos are amazing! Leslie, I just saw this, stay safe. Hope you and the kitties and family are okay.
post #14 of 77
this is the news bulletin from just over an hour ago:

ACT homes ablaze

Houses in Canberra are alight, as fires from the Namadgi National Park have reached suburbs.

It is feared an entire block of houses in one southern suburb, Duffy, may be lost.

Several areas have been evacuated and the Government has declared a state of emergency.

Firefighters are facing an uphill battle with hot and gusty winds.


Best positive thoughts to Leslie and Purring Panther right now.
post #15 of 77
Oh Gosh! I hope our Mates are going to be okay! Prayers are flying!
post #16 of 77
Thread Starter 
Okay! Just a quick line to let you know the latest as I have to switch off cause we are getting electrical surges!

It has lightened up a little but we are hearing horrible stories of loss! Peters Mother and Father is in the worst are affected and he has just left to see if he can find his Father! We can't get hold of him as he is no longer answering his phone and the mobiles are no longer able to connect! I can't even get hold of Peter now to make sure he is okay!!!

There is so much stuff falling out of the sky, huge leaves and bits of bark. It is hot and the wind has just come up once again! We have been keeping the house damp outside! It's going to be a long night and I guess we won't know much till the morning! We are lucky that nothing has happened yet! I have such a headache and eyes are stinging! Please keep fingers crossed that Peters parents are okay! We have lost many homes and there are reports of loss of life! I can't believe what I am seeing!

Talk to you all soon

post #17 of 77
Leslie, you hang in there and know that when this kind of disaster happens many people panic and get lost temporarily. Hopefully that is what has happened to Peter's family. My heart goes out to all who are affected by this horrible fire. Please stay safe and check in when you can.
post #18 of 77
Positive safety thoughts coming to you and your family and friends.
post #19 of 77
I've just come online and seen this!
I thought I'd check in here because I tried to sms message Leslie and got no response which I guess is because of all the congestion and possibly mobile towers being down.
We were over with my father in Canberra most of the day and the conditions are terrible. As Leslie said there is smoke and ash everywhere and it was very hot, very windy and really hard to breathe.
My father's in a nursing home and they ended up being on skeleton staff as many of the staff had to leave to go and evacuate their homes.
We've come home and there is a fire front not far from Yass. Yass is where we live, a small rural town about 50 km from Canberra. We've checked things out with the NSW Rural Fire Brigade and they say that crews are working on the front and there is no immediate danger to Yass. The wind direction changed earlier and this is sending the fire away from us. Of course this may change so we're just continuing to listen to the radio.
I was so frightened as we drove home towards Yass and saw the smoke pouring up from that direction. We had Orion with us in the car but poor Draco was at home! Luckily as we got closer we saw that the smoke was not coming directly from Yass but it's not that far away really.
They're saying that at least 60 homes have been lost in the outskirt suburbs of Canberra and one man from the suburb of Duffy has died from smoke inhalation.
We also listened to one lady on the radio who had left her home to try and save her equestrian park and the horses. They managed to do this, but while they were there she lost her home in another suburb and her two cats were inside. It's just terrible!
There are evac centres set up and so many families have had to go there because they've either already lost their homes or look like losing them.
This was so totally unexpected and the fires just moved in so quickly. The floating embers have just set off multiple fires everywhere and the emergency services cannot cope with them all. Most people are having to fight the fires near their homes themselves because there's just not enough crews available to help.
For the moment we are safe but please keep Leslie in your prayers because I heard that her suburb is one that is on alert.
post #20 of 77
I just got a reply from Leslie and she says they are ok. It's not as bad as it was earlier. Just the smoke is bad which is hurting her eyes and giving her a headache. So far so good.
post #21 of 77
Thanks for the update Louise - we've just had a cool change here in Sydney, I hope it reaches you guys.

post #22 of 77
This is too scary! I hope Leslie and her family and others in the area are okay!

Lots of prayers going their way!
post #23 of 77
I got an email from Leslie...

We are okay so far! fires are close and we have heard they are near a suburb that is behind us! It's almost a circle and we are sort of in the middle! I sms'd you back! Mobiles are useless! Feeling very tired and in a bit of shock I think! My head is thumping and our eyes are really bad! Just imagine how people are feeling that are right in it? At the moment the winds have died down and there seems to be no immediate threat how ever we are still on stand by! I feel sick over what people have lost!

Really glad you are all okay, I was worried that you were in it too! Poor cats are acting weird! Draco must have been glad to see you home! Please stay safe. I posted a thread about the bush fires earlier! with some photos of what it was like around us! I have to go offline soon cause of the electrical surges! But if you manage to get on to the site can you let them know that we are okay.

Just got to sit back and hope everything will be fine! I am dreading waking up and seeing the devastation in the morning as it is so dark now we can't see the full extent! All the shops are closed around us, no petrol stations etc!!! Very very strange feeling!

Stay safe and well! I will talk to you soon!


Leslie, Pete and furbabies
post #24 of 77
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone and a big thanks to Louise!

Update before falling into bed to get a bit of a sleep! I hope!!!

Pete as you know went to find his dad and said it was so awful, driving along and houses on fire with no one around to put them out! He couldn't get close to his dads house so had to walk. His dad is okay and the house is okay also thank god! But the house 3 doors up is gone! Also another friend that lives in Duffy lost theirs home! One of my other friends lives out Lanyon way on a property and they were evacuated at 3pm this afternoon, she doesn't think their home is standing either! They just grabbed vegemite (kitten) and ran.

Canberra was totally unprepared! It was just so quick. I am still on edge because it could change again. They are expecting it to be no better tomorrow.

We are okay for the time being! Hopefully the night will remain peaceful! I feel so bad for all the people that have lost there homes etc! We are very lucky so far! We now have 2 deaths reported and over 100 homes.

We have no where near enough Fire Fighters to handle this and the public is doing most of it themselves! There is very little water pressure in the hoses and it is almost impossible! I still can't believe what has and is happening! I'll get some more pictures in the morning!

Thank you again for being with me in this very scary time!
post #25 of 77
Just saw this. Bundy, take care and, if you have to - GET OUT!

post #26 of 77
I just saw this too. My heart was in my mouth reading about how close this powerful and frightening fire is to you Leslie (and Louise).

Girl - look after yourself and your furfamily. Keep everything close to hand so if you need to get in the car and leg it, you can find everyone and everything you need.

I do hope it won't come to that - the pictures you posted were very, very frightening and awesome and we are all thinking of you and hoping that the worse is over.

Take real good care of yourself, Pete and the fluffs.
post #27 of 77
OMG....just saw this. Leslie, so glad to hear you and your family are ok and that Pete's mom and dad are okay too. I am sending positive thoughts your way and sending prayers to all of you.

Louise, I am relieved to hear all is well with you also. I pray it remains that way.

The pictures are amazing....I can imagine how difficult it would be to breathe normally.

God bless you all and keep you safe...
post #28 of 77
OMG! I just saw this on ther news, and came right to the computer. I am glad to hear everyone is well so far. Please take care, and if possible keep us posted on how you are all doing. We're all praying for you. Be safe.
post #29 of 77
Oh my goodness Leslie this is horrible!!!
Stay inside and breath through masks or wet towels and keep all the animals inside and preferrable locked in kennels.
I hope your house and all of you will survive this well.
I'm sure we will all send you positive energy and pray for you.
All the good luck of the world!!!!!!
Please let us know as soon as possible.

post #30 of 77
Just saw video, on the news and it looks like Hell. I'd be beating feet, out of there!
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