Monday, February 9, 2009

Hellfire Saturday - Death toll now 108

And unfortunately it will rise as the rubble of houses is searched and cleared.   These are now the worst fires in our history - beyond Black Friday in 1939 and Ash Wednesday in 1983 and what is worse is that many of them seem to have been deliberately lit.

There are tales of absolute horror emerging - one man with skin hanging off him carrying his daughter into a relief station and saying that his wife and other child were dead.   Scenes of car crashes on roads and bodies trapped inside.  There are people who haven't heard from loved ones since midday Saturday - dozens of them.   Hopefully some are simply out of contact but it does not bode well.

I worked the Ash Wednesday fires and as horrific as they were, they seem to pale compared to these.  On Ash Wednesday, as a policeman driving throught the fire areas and checking homes that were burnt for survivors, what struck me then was the fickleness of the fire, places left untouched were next to others razed to the ground.  But these ones were far more fierce, the towns that took the brunt just don't seem to exist anymore.  Those who stayed have likely perished.

And though the weather is cooler the fires still burn and are likely to for the rest of the week because the days of 40 degree heat have sucked whatever moisture was left out of the ground.

Share a prayer for those who have lost their lives, their families and friends, the more than 750 families who have lost their homes, and finally the men and women of the Emergency Services who now have the grim task of finding and recovering the victims.

Once again, as in 1983, Radio Station 3AW gave fantastic coverage, and are still doing so.  For a gallery of the disaster visit here.

We have no tag name for this disaster yet - maybe Hellfire Saturday is appropriate.

18 comments:

People in the Sun said...

This is horrible. Hope it ends soon. Hope you and everyone you know is safe.

Bear said...

Hi Loz, I'm glad your area hasn't been engulfed.

I have family in Yarra Glen that have lost everything but their lives, and family in Sth Gippsland that thankfully aren't under threat.

I hope you don't mind, but I've linked to this post from mine... you give the detail that I'm sure some will be interested in reading.

Loz said...

Hi Pits - midday Monday and more towns under threat of direct fire and ember attack as I type this.

Bear - In some ways it looks like your family are luckier than some.

Scarlet said...

I've been to Romany Angel and Bear's blogs and now yours. I'm so sorry to hear about the devastation. It's horrible news and my heart breaks for the families who've lost their loved ones and homes. I will pray for all of them. Take care, Loz.

Loz said...

Thank you Scarlet - latest reports are that the townships of Stanley, Dedarang, Gundowring, Coralbank, Glenbank and others are all under threat now. These are all in the States north east where the cool change was milder. So we still wait and watch.

terri said...

There just aren't words for something like this. I will be praying...

Mum-me said...

"Hellfire Saturday" seems the best way to describe the horror of what happened this past weekend in Vic.

Loz said...

Thank you Terri.

Mum-me - I think that labels like that which go into the lexicon help us remember what happened. The lessons from this one will unfold over the next months as the coroner investigates and all of us who live in bushfire prone areas really need to pay attention to what happened here.

Hope said...

I am so terribly sorry Loz. For all of you who have to watch it and go through it all. Please keep posting. You are in my thoughts constantly.

Loz said...

Hi Hope - people are resilient and we will start to hear some of the stories of heroism over the next few days as well.

But to balance that is the knowledge that a lot of these fires were deliberately lit. My son has suggested slowly roasting those who did it if they are caught. At the very least they are murderers and the only thing that doesn't make them terrorists is the lack of political motivation.

pamokc said...

This is so awful, I pray you and yours stay safe. And a quick end to the fires.

Loz said...

Hi Pam - Thank you and if you were in Oklahoma City when you had that disaster in the early 90's then I am sure you know how we are feeling here at the moment.

pamokc said...

Yes, I was downtown OKC that day, thanks for remembering. But this is the here and now and I hope help comes your way soon.

Loz said...

Pam - Adversity, thankfully, also brings out the best in people :)

groovyoldlady said...

Hi...I've dropped over from Bear's blog.

I have many friends in Oz and have praying for your country. My heart breaks at the devastation. May God have mercy!

pamokc said...

It is the "intentionally set" which is the most disturbing, in both our cases.

Loz said...

Hi and welcome Groovyoldlady - but what's with the old?

Loz said...

Pam - I couldn't agree more