Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Well, it's been quite a week.
Only a few hours after my last post (over one week ago now) we received news that the following day would put us in the "catastrophic" bushfire level. Our plan has always been to get out as early as possible, living in a bushfire prone area. With the hot dry winds forecast, a fire already out of control just over the mountains from us, it seemed the most sensible approach for us. So after just finishing all the unpacking from being down the coast, we were once again packing. With the addition of valuables, photos, computer and documents this time. And our dog. Gardens hosed, gutters checked and all possible fuel sources moved, we were on our way, arriving at my parents house late in the night. We set up the camper trailer in the backyard.
It was a little surreal seeing all the familiar local place names, relatively unknown to the outside world, flashing up on the news over the next few days. Seeing the locals in the papers and on the news.
I am incredibly grateful for the hard work of the firefighters, many of them local volunteers who worked around the clock, often putting themselves at risk, to save people, properties and contain that fire.
Daniel returned on Wednesday and spent the next three days as a volunteer. Driving fire trucks, helping with containment lines and unloading supplies. Sometimes in danger. It certainly helped that he knew all the local tracks. I was both incredibly worried and proud of him at the same time. He said at night you could see the fire from our house.
So the kids and I waited it out at my parents, who were so generous (and patient!) with providing a home away from home for us. Relying more on news stories and internet updates, than the rare occasion that Daniel was at home, to find out what was going on. It was a very stressful, frustrating week, much of it spent glued to the tv watching the news, and I can only begin to imagine how much worse it was for so many other people out there, some of them having no home to go back to.
The threat eased and we made the decision to come home on Sunday. No smoke, just a strange smoky smell in the air. Even our tank water had a strange smell.
We are not entirely out of the woods. There is still a lot of fire vehicles around, and although now more contained, it is not out. We've had some favourable weather, and let's hope for no more extremely hot, windy weather this week.
But I'm relieved to be home. Relieved to be back in my own bed. Relieved that we did have a home to come back to.
(Thank you so much to those who sent messages of concern. It was much appreciated!)