Marguerite and Hubby- Fires in Australia

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Jody, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Marguerite and family, checking to see if you are in the area of the fires that are going on in Australia? I was stunned to read today that it was 104 degrees there this last week. I never knew that it was that hot during the winter months. Hoping everything is okay. please check in and let us know what's going on. Hoping you are in a safe area. Sounds horrible.
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Jody, she posted a bit on fb... She was at the beach making me jealous... I'll go poke her. :wink:
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I saw this in the news and knew that she was far enough away. Funny how many of us think of her when we read about Australia in the news, though.
  4. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    lol, she's the only person I know that lives there!!! Glad to hear it's not in her area. The beach sounds wonderful it's 28 degrees here. Can't say that I would want to be near 104 though either.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ah, yes, every winter, I remember why I left Minnesota ...
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wonder if there is somewhere that is the perfect temperature? I would love 60 and sunny year round. Not too hot and not too cold. I could have a nice hot tub to soak in at night and the pool could be heated for during the day. No cold weather to make my joints ache.

    yeah, that sounds just like what the doctor ordered!

    I can actually take dry cold weather but the wet, damp, moist cold that just soaks into you makes me hurt like crazy. It also makes me miserable though when its 100 degrees and humid out.
  7. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    I can take dry cold also, but when a snow storm or rain is coming, I ache terribly. The frigid temps really don't make me ache. The only place I heard has near perfect weather was San Diego area. Never been there, but sounds nice. I like 90-95 but hate when it gets above that.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    They are fine, she just updated on fb. :bigsmile:
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'll update here, too.

    Every national park in the state has been closed today, campers advised to leave. Where we live, is in an extreme danger area. However, there is a clear demarcation between the village and the bush (= forest). Aussie forest is highly flammable. I remember when we were evacuating from the last day like this in 1994, I glanced to the end of the street and I could see fireballs in the air, eucalyptus oil exploding in the flames.

    The village is surrounded by bushland on three sides and by the sea on the fourth. Our house is non-flammable although surrounded by trees. Our property does not border the bushland but is close to it. We have good clear vision all around, we can see it coming. Our biggest risk is a fire starting next to the village - not a lot of warning then. But we've lived here for 34 years and have never seen even one house burn down. I've seen a roof damaged, a caravan gone, a couple of garden sheds gone, over a number of different fires.

    You can monitor the fires from our NSW rural fire brigade service - You will see the extent of the danger, but also the extent of the organisation working on it.

    My biggest concern is the heat today - the forecast is for 43C. The rough rule of thumb to convert to degrees F is double it and add 30, but when you get up to these big numbers it under-estimates. My calculator says it will be around 110F in the heart of Sydney, at our place, at a lot of places along the coast (where it is normally cooler) from Wollongong to Newcastle.

    The whole state is on fire alert, big time. We have a range of fire rating warnings. Illawarra is listed at Catastrophic - at that level, they say, we have to either leave now, before there is danger, and get to a point of safety, or stay put if we have a fire safety plan in place. Bomb shelters, that sort of thing. Jumping in the rainwater tank is not recommended - in the Victorian fires, people did that and cooked. Our rainwater tank is plastic and sealed. The fire brigade know about it, they will come and pump it out (along with the swimming pool next door) if they need the water. Our area I thought was also Catastrophic but at the moment I think is just Extreme (the next level down, used to be the top level).

    The town here sometimes runs out of water on hot summery days. Days like today, people get up and hose their roofs, fill gutters with water, that sort of thing. But only the houses on the edge should do this. Last time, I remember seeing people hosing their roofs in the middle of the town where they had minimal danger. I saw a roof dry at one end where it had just been hosed, while the bloke hosed the other end. It was bone dry in a few minutes - a waste of water. I went home (up the top of the hill) to find our water supply down to a trickle. I used the last of it to fill the bathtub. We didn't get water back at our place for a week. We had to use the beach shower or rinse ourselves from a bucket, after a swim. Gravity works! They had plenty of water down the bottom of the hill, just not enough pressure to get up to us.

    That was then. Today, we have prepared a lot more. We also have the internet now to keep us informed. We have filled drums of water for drinking (because the tap water rises to undrinkable levels). I've just closed up the house, closing doors, windows and curtains. The fans are on (ceiling fans). We have no air conditioning. I do have one awning yet to pull down, but that window is curtained inside. Bowls of water outside for the birds. I'll got and put a bowl of food out there for the birds too - we mix their food with water, it's like a watery porridge for them. Keeping the birds close to town will probably help them, there is no water in the bush at the moment.

    The outside temperature went up suddenly an hour or so after sunrise, then stopped. It's just started moving again. Still pleasant here, 26C. I'm about to go out and check things out, possibly drop in on mother in law to see if she's got the air conditioning on and doors/windows shut. Trouble is, sis-in-law is currently staying there and likes to leave doors open. She turns down the air con temp to compensate, but this one doesn't work that way and she won't listen. We put extra water in the bathroom for them. If I go down there and find things not as they should be, I will have to not say anything. I had to go home early last night because sis-in-law was being unpleasant again. mother in law is not well, I do feel I need to monitor. But I'm reluctant to go near.

    husband went to work. He's expecting a shipment of flammables to come in today. great...

    if we have a fire in the forest, husband won't be allowed to drive home. But there can be an advantage - because under those conditions we may have to get out. The boat will be running, plus the Dunkirk method comes into play (flotillas of private craft sail in to rescue people). If we have to get out, then we'll have husband's car on the mainland. If he can come home, then he'll be able to catch the boat to work next morning and pick up his car on the other side to drive the rest of the way.

    I remember in 1994, they wouldn't let locals home on the boat (including not letting the local doctor back, and we needed him). Some blokes drove to the narrowest part of the bay, parked their cars, and swam home. The papers made a big fuss about shark-infested waters, totally ignoring the fire storm the blokes went home to.

    We have some other anecdotes from past fires. if we come through this alright, I'll share them with you. They can seem a bit flippant is we have serious property damage or loss of life in the state today.

    Stop press - 38C at Bega down south, not sure what time because the phone line from the official (talking to the radio) dropped out.

    They're playing Beach Boys covers on the radio to help us feel cool... we're getting updates, but the focus is on keeping things calm, but practical. No dramas.

    We're a pragmatic people. Shirt sleeves rolled up, except when fighting fires!

  10. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    Sounds very scary. Keep us posted if you get a chance. I do not know how you are making it in that heat.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I just checked the website. There appears to be an incident reported at the nuclear reactor but it's not flagged as 'alert'. It is described as a building fire, I'm wondering if it's a fire alarm gone off. Happens at husband's work all the time, they never get to do fire drills because they get too many cases of the real thing.

    The nearest fires are way south of us, they won't reach here.

    Temperature outside is now 42.5 C (108.5 F)according to the old thermometer. The new weather station says it's 27.8 C (83.3 F) outside. Rubbish... Unless husband has moved the sensor to inside the house, because that is a close match with our current inside temperatures according to our old thermometer. It just shows the benefit of closing doors and windows and drawing all the curtains and screens, on a hot day.

    I'm going to venture down to mother in law's and see how they're faring. Fingers crossed they're being sensible, and mother in law is drinking plenty of water.

  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's 10 pm here now and still 37 C. That's body heat - 98.4 F. I've been at a friend's place for a meeting and sort-of party, a bit stifled by the heat. The temperatures maxed out at 42.5 C today.

    husband & I left my friend's place at about 9 pm and went to the beach. Our beach is wilderness, so there was no lights although we could see by the city lights. No stars tonight, there's a blanket of high cloud keeping the heat in. The night swim was odd - I was a bit concerned about possible bluebottles, but husband pointed out that there hasn't been an onshore wind to bring in those pesky purple stingers. The water was not cold, not hot, just comfortable. Not too rough either, thankfully, because this tiny beach can get pretty wild sometimes. The tide was a long way out - I joked about possible tsunami, after a heatwave day it would be just the odds I wouldn't want.

    They expect temperatures to still be in the 30s at midnight. The cool change is due through at 4 am - it hopefully will hit here a couple of hours before that.

    We're watching the news coverage on the fires - there are about 20 fires out of control, another 140 fires in the state. Adjacent states are also in trouble - Victoria also has fires, Tasmania is still struggling with fires and South Australia is heading for record temperatures of 54 C (130 F). Yes, they have fires too.

    Here - we're safe. No fires in our area. Our village was isolated today but for safety reasons. No fires. People had to show proof of residency before being allowed in. I'm glad I warned residents to carry ID showing local address.

    Tomorrow should be a lot cooler but the Total Fire Ban across the whole state (and into the next states) will persist.

    Properties lost, but no deaths reported yet.

  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'm do glad that you live far from the fires and that your village is situated as it is. You all sound well prepared and alert and I will hope for cooler temps and rain rain rain for you all. The late night swim probably makes you the envy of a large number of people with crazy temps like that! And you don't have air conditioning! I'd be wilted and laying in bed weeping. You all are made of tough stuff