Tags: gum tree

12 Dec 2006, Comments Off on A red heart

A red heart

Author: Helen

Two weeks ago I woke up to a familiar smell. Our bedroom window faces north, and I could smell gum tree logs burning – a scent I’m addicted to, of hearth fires and campfires and barbequeues outdoors.

Except it wasn’t.

Up in the mountains the dragon was uncoiling early. A thick grey blanket covered the city. Drivers switched on headlights.

I looked on the Parkweb site, which has a link to a PDF map, updated regularly, of the bushfires. Here is the restricted zone, and fires, from last week (December 7), shaped like a big, red, beating heart in the middle of Victoria.

Image from http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/

The bright red bits are the fires; the paler red is the restricted area.

Here is the same map from today’s PDF.

Image from http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/

Now, when the hot northerly wind is blowing too hard, we are on edge, although not as much on edge as the people who live near the dragon’s mouth. We went to a garden party at Mount Egerton on Sunday. The weather cleared, then the foggy blanket started drawing in again. The conversation stuttered.
People checked the internet, left perhaps an hour or so earlier than they planned to.

My thoughts are with the people in the little mountain hamlets further out, with their fire plans and determination, and the CFA firefighters. I emailed the people at the Alpine School, which is just on the topmost edge of the red heart. They are OK. The fourth-term kids went home three days early.

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