Australian Fires

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Feb 9th, 2009, 04:37 PM
  #1
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Australian Fires

I just want to extend my personal sympathy to all the Australians who may read this. The photos of the fires are astonishing. It is hard to imagine--from half a world away--the extent of the destruction both in property and, of course, in lives. So, I extend my sympathy to all of you and especially to those of you that may have lost friends and family.
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Feb 9th, 2009, 11:25 PM
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These fires have indeed been a horrific experience for all Aussies and in particular we Victorians.
The death and destruction that has occurred in one of the most beautiful tourist areas of Australia, the Yarra Valley, is absolutely tragic. Over 170 and counting dead, thousands homeless, and the fact that some of the fires may have been deliberately lit is beyond belief.
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Feb 10th, 2009, 06:26 PM
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Thank you LaurenKahn1. It's really kind of you to post this. I live in Melbourne and the whole community is just in shock and there is an air of depression around the place. Fires are not uncommon here but these ones are just devastating and so wide spread around the state of Victoria.

There are some amazing stories of courage and kindness coming out and it makes me proud to see how the whole country is rallying around to help the victims. They fires may be extinguished soon (hopefully) but the effect will last some a lifetime.
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Feb 10th, 2009, 07:32 PM
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I just registered to give blood, and saw some heartening news on the Red Cross website.

There's been such a huge response to the call for blood donations that there are now adequate amounts to serve Victoria's immediate needs. However, there will be a need in future weeks if anyone wants to donate.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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If I were in Australia now, giving blood would be my response as well. Many of us wanted to give blood after 9/11 to assist survivors in the US but there were really no survivors. Pretty much you either escaped or, if trapped in the buildings did not. I remember ambulance crews waiting for calls that never came.

The fires are getting big play in the news in the US--especially on the cable channels. I remember a man saying he had lost two kids. I cried. How do you survive that emotionally and mentally?
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Feb 11th, 2009, 06:53 PM
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It is going to be so hard on many survivors Lauren, particularly those losing immediate family, another chap having it seems lost his wife and kids becuase somehow or other they got separated in the mayhem when the firestorm was going through one of the places.

I suppose it is still shock and disbelief/denial to be followed by grief and quite some depression would not be unexpected - you see at the middle age in your life, not only a home gone but all that was closest to you and I can understand how you could feel a bit lost and devoid of hope and what's life all about!

I just read this morning of a younger guy from an area near where I have lived and he survived by lying in a creek as the fire passed and then went to a neighbours garage to check on them and a whole family and a friend were dead - died from lack of oxygen it seems!

And that is one of the problems associated with the theory that some have of staying to fight a fire - the fiercest will just suck do much oxygen out of the surrounding air, and so if heat don't get you suffocation will.

So yes, there will be a lot of sadness and angst to overcome.

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Feb 11th, 2009, 07:23 PM
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Yeah, lack of oxygen rather than exposure to radiant heat was my main concern during the big fire here a few years back and more so because I had been reading about the apparently untouched bodies around the fountains in Dresden after the firestorms in Feb 45 and had been in the main railway station there under which 400 sheltering children had perished. Trouble is, no one can give a definitive answer to the 'fight or flight' conundrum - apart from making the right decision early - and luck plays such a large part.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 07:42 PM
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Yep Farrer
"Trouble is, no one can give a definitive answer to the 'fight or flight' conundrum - apart from making the right decision early - and luck plays such a large part."

Luck certainly will play a huge part - like is the fire going to be just a moderate blaze or a firsetorm fireballing bugger!

And that will again be determined by a number of factors, fuel about and winds!

The Kinglake area was apparently considered by local CFA crews to be somewhat in the clear right up to virtually minutes before it hit as there was a late afternoon southerly change coming through southern Victoria which meant that wind on fire swung around from NW to SW and southerly, turning what had been the flank of a southerly moving fire ito a broad front heading north and that's why such a large area was hit more or less simultaneouly though there were also areas from Kilmore south that copped it when the fire was heading SE.

The Marysville fire was a separtae one initially but then they joined and it could have been the topography of Marysville and hills/valley acting a bit like a wind funnel to create the storm/fire-ball effect there.

I had been thinking that in those kind of conditions you would be safe in nothing but a concrete bunker or diving into a dam or river etc., but then yep, even with a bunker you would want to have some tanked air supply.

One of the briefly shown survival stories was about a guy who dived into a dam and his horse did not need any encouragement either and dived in on top of him - great looking horse too!
Another pic showed some guy who had made a beeline in his car straight for the dam - no mucking around either, straight in down the bank and into the water.

The thing is it seems that there was not just enough time for people to be warned and to get out of the most mountainous areas.


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Feb 12th, 2009, 04:52 PM
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My heart goes out to everyone affected by these fires.
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Feb 12th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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My heart, too, goes out to the people affected by these horrible fires.
Sally in Seattle
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Feb 13th, 2009, 04:48 PM
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My heart goes out to you all as well. I viewed many pictures online last night, and it was just heartbreaking. I think someone wrote that it was a "perfect storm" of condictions...heat, wind, drought so terribly dry, and so on.
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Feb 15th, 2009, 07:16 PM
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In just over a week 100 million dollars has been donated to help victims and continues to pour in .Extraordinairy response from the community especially in a " recession " .
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Feb 15th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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The response sounds like what happened after 9/11 in the US. People just were grieving so hard and giving money was the only thing they could do. I am sure the survivors will need all the emotional support they can get and appreciate the financial help as well.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 06:16 PM
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We are now up to over $155million and still going with several major fundraising events to come. The numbers who have volunteered are overwhelming for the charities and they are now asking for people just to donate money. So many want to do more but the charities just can't cope.
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Feb 26th, 2009, 06:53 PM
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Today is another day of greater danger to the past couple of weeks that have fortunately had milder weather.

The last few days have seen some residents deciding to evacuate from the Dandenong Ranges areas about 40 km. east of Melbourne with a number of smaller fires in the region, one house being burnt and then an explosion at a petrol [gas] station where a container being filled was ignited and ironically one persons car destroyed contained their items they had left the house with.
Some people burned in that incident too, one seriously.

Keeping our fingers crossed that the day does not reach the temperature and wind conditions predicted.
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