Weekend Wanderings – A Burnt Country
It is Australia Day today, the day that we are supposed to celebrate what it means to be Australian. I have spoken in previous years about how controversial it is, though it has more to do with the date I think. A day in our history that meant one whole race of people lost their home, while a new people took it over with no regard to the true owners. I don’t want to say anymore on that now. I had thought I would do a post on lots of things that are Australian, but then yesterday I was taken out to the back of beyond to photograph something that is a real reality for many Australians, and one I have spoken of before, bushfires.
Floods and fires are probably the two biggest naturally occurring disasters in Australia and they can affect any part of the country. The week before when we in the Southern part of Australia were experiencing the hottest heatwave on record, there were parts, many parts of those same areas that were on fire. Most of the fires that happened were caused by lightning strikes. Lightning is not your friend when you live in a very dry country.
For the most part the fires are out, but there are some areas that are still smouldering and with the temperatures set to go up again next week, the CFA are keeping an eye on some parts, in case they cause new fires.
The fires were near Yaapeet, in Victoria’s west, they burned lots of parklands, in and around Lake Albacutya, and then continued to north where some are still burning now. There was a place I was hoping to get to to take some photos, but I have now found out it is closed because of fires.
A local from Yaapeet, Jonesy, took me out with his wife, Ros, it is so much better seeing an area with locals. Jonesy had been up there fighting the fires so he had a pretty good idea where we could and couldn’t go. I have to admit I am a complete novice when it comes to this sort of thing. It certainly opened my eyes a lot. Take the above image, the tree is fine, but the base of the tree is all burned, apparently that is because the fires is very close to the ground.
Another weird thing too was how it would burn some areas and not others. I don’t know if you can see in the above image, in the distant there is a green patch, an area that wasn’t burned.
Because of the area this is the only house that was lost, though it was an empty house and no one was living in it. It is very strange how it burns, and then a few metres out the back the fire stopped.
Then you see this place and the fire went all around, but didn’t burn the shack, or the outside dunny on the right. All the trees are burned. I wonder if it is the fibro that the shack is built with, and the amount of asbestos that is probably in it.
Jonesy has a little bush retreat not far from the previous shack. He has spent years building little shacks, outdoor kitchen, there were a few caravans, but now it is all gone, the fire burned the lot. I have lots of photos, but will show them in a gallery.
Seeing where the fires went was real eye opener. One of the things that I did find overpowering was the smell. It was everywhere, in some places very strong. I know this is probably a depressing subject for Australia Day here, but it is a reality for many, and with more hot weather predicted in the week to come many people are living with their precious items packed near the front door and hoping the call to evacuate never comes.
Here is a gallery with many more images. I have put some explanations under some of them.