Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Australian Bushfire Updates

I'm going to give you the link for the latest news stories of the fires that are raging through the Land of Aus:

click here for updated stories

Now then, I'm going to be paraphrasing a few of those stories. Please excuse my brevity or lack or writing skills as I'm not exactly in the mood to be eloquent tonight (it's Wednesday evening down here as I type).

The "toll" was up to 183 this morning, it's expected to be over 300 soon...

Thousands of families have lost everything. For many there was basically no warning.

Why wasn't there a warning? Well, a "normal" bushfire will "spot" itself up to 1 to 1.5 kilometres away from the front. Spotting refers to the fire's ability to toss embers up and ignite other brush. These suckers were spotting up to 15 kilometres (10 miles) away from the front.

Ummmmmmm, that's bad. Really bad.

The fires over Saturday night in Victoria (there are many still burning and NSW countryside is going up) released enough energy to supply the state of Victoria for 2 years. In one night...

Take the energy released from the atomic bomb that the USA dropped on the civilians of Hiroshima and multiply that by 500. That's how much power was released onto the folks in the Victorian countryside in one night.

Did you know that Eucalypt oil is explosive when vaporised? And that it can vaporise at fairly low temps. The temps were record heat wave highs for a couple of weeks beforehand, and then on the day it was 120 F in the shade.

Sooooooo, an ember from a fire 10 MILES AWAY FROM A TOWN drops onto the trees in the town... The trees are gum trees of course (eucalyptus). The trees explode instantly and the entire town is burning with absolutely no warning.

Is it any wonder the Aussie PM calls any arsonist mass murders? Is it any wonder that many of the fire chiefs use the word "terrorism" to describe the fire bugs?

How hot did the fires get? Well, normal bushfires don't melt metal:
molten metal

If you want to read about the science of these fires and why they are way beyond what any firefighter from any country has ever seen, the click

this link

BTW, I've already let the writer of the article, Alice Coster of the Herald Sun, know that I object to her use of "a perfect firestorm" to describe the fires. I don't think anyone who lost their homes would think of it as "perfect".

But, there's some good news! Aussies really help each other out in a crisis. The international cricket match between Aus and NZ raised $6,023,643 throughout the match. I'm damned impressed!

If you want to read a story about two REAL heroes (not sportsblokes), then read this:

Brave Blokes

I'm sure everyone heard about the firefighter who stopped to help a koala. Here's a pic if him giving "Sam" a drink.
thirsty koala

Sam was taken to a wildlife shelter, and it turns out Sam is Samantha! Her paws are bandaged up, she's got a koala bloke at the shelter who likes her, and she should be ready to be released back into the wild in 5 months.
bandaged paws


Loveanewidea said...

I just can't get over the photo of the melted wheel...that's just unbelievable, but a good illustration of just how hot the fires are. We're hearing more and more on our news here about this.

Your blog has really provided complete coverage of this, with plenty of relevant links.

Arvay said...

Ack, that's so sad. What the hell is wrong with people to cause deliberate harm to others?

But what a lovely photo. He's holding the koala's hand! How cute is that?

Anonymous said...

I am sad to hear about the devastation that the fires have wreaked on your beautiful land down under. Nonetheless, kudos to you, AK Dave, for thinking to include the Y-K delta villages in your charitable mentions.
Also, thanks for such excellent photos, links and info. It's hard to get serious sometimes, ain't it?!
You and your country are in my thoughts and prayers.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Loveanewidea: The melted wheel is about the usual temp of a steering wheel down here in summer! I jest, of course.

Arvay: Pre-trial hearings and proceeding are now starting against one of the bastards. His name and jail location are being kept quiet... Hmmmmm, something to be said for frontier justice. The fireman didn't reach out to the koala, the koala reached out and grabbed his hand; very touching moment.

WSW: I know some folks from those villages, I wanted to give my own little shout-out to them from the Antipodes. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.