This is my first post for 2020 but it does not seem right to be wishing you a ‘Happy New Year’. The bushfire disaster in south-eastern Australia is worse than ever, with more confirmed deaths and property losses.
If anyone asked me where I have been in the 5 days since my last blog post, the best answer would be “in limbo”. We made our way to stay with extended family in Canberra. After record-breaking heat (44C) yesterday, the capital is now covered with a blanket of thick smoke. Several locations, including Old Parliament House, the National Gallery and Questacon are closed and people are being advised to stay indoors. Unfortunately, the smoke seeps into everything but our problems are minimal compared to the areas which are directly impacted.
As you can see from the map below, Canberra is semi-surrounded by fires. The yellow markers are active fires, red is emergency and the blue ones are contained. In some cases a single marker indicates a fire which has burnt an area in excess of 150,000 hectares (about 370,000 acres).
Some of our extended family are in areas closer to the fires so we are constantly trying to keep track of the progress of the fires.
We plan to leave Canberra tomorrow morning and drive home over a couple of days. The western part of New South Wales is not in the high danger area and where we live is south-east Queensland is well away from the current fires.
However, we are still at the beginning of summer and these fires may be just the beginning of a catastrophic fire season as most of the entire country is drought-affected and tinder dry.
Please stay safe wherever you are.