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 Australian fires

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masterindisguise
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PostSubject: Australian fires   Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:44 pm

A FIRSTHAND DESCRIPTION OF THE FIRE TSUNAMI THAT HIT PARTS OF SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA A COUPLE WEEKS AGO AND A FORETASTE OF THE CATASTROPHIC LEVEL OF UPHEAVALS TO BE EXPECTED GLOBALLY BECAUSE OF GLOBAL WARMING. Sent by Magaer Lennox (magaer@aussiebroadband.com.au) with this note: "I wrote this article for inclusion in your next mailout."Australia has a long history of recurring bushfires as you can see HERE

Australian Bushfires

I am writing this because I feel very connected to the events that occurred recently just to the north of Melbourne. I was staying in Melbourne at the time with a friend who knew many in the areas affected by the bushfires. We had been up there 2 days previous taking a walk along the river. And we were planning on going up again for the markets on Saturday morning. As it became clear that the weather was going to be hot and windy, and because the weather bureau was warning people not to go out unless they had to, we changed our minds.

My friend spent the day keeping track on the Internet of where the bushfires were and on the phone to her friends checking where they were. The night before I had been on Google maps checking out exactly where all these places were because my friend had talked of them so often.

It was hot in Melbourne on Saturday. The maximum temperature forecasted was 43C (110F) with gusty northerly winds. This was surpassed and it reached 47C (117F) by 3.30pm. This temperature is measured in the shade and out of the wind. A cool change came through between 5.00pm and 6.00pm. Before this change however were cyclonic winds with gusts measuring up to 100 km/hour (60 miles/hour). I have been in heat like that before because I lived in Central Australia, but I have never been in that heat with that wind. It was scary even in Melbourne

In the week previous to this there were several days where the maximum temperatures were well up over 40C. Added to this the region has been in drought for the past 12 years. On Saturday, February 7, 60% of the continent recorded maximum temperatures of over 37C (100F) - 90% was above 30C (86F). To the north, 10% of the continent was in flood - some parts going under water for the second time in a month. These were the worst floods in the history of the country.

Most will have seen the news on the fires themselves and probably have some idea of their severity. Some fires travelled at speeds which made it impossible to outrun and escape them - often reaching 100km/hr. Most people were prepared for bushfires because there has been a public education campaign on how to defend yourselves and your homes in bushfires. This campaign has been very successful in reducing loss of life and property in the bushfires. People who live in high-risk areas all have their fire plans, which they activate when the warnings come through.

But these fires were totally outside the box. Flames were estimated to be up to 50 meters (150 feet) high. The radiant heat was enough to kill. The 'survivability' distance of Saturday's heat was about four times its height - so a 35-metre-high fire would directly imperil those within 140 meters. The body would get over-stressed, the core temperature would get too high and the metabolism would break down. The body would dehydrate quickly.

People spoke of fire falling like rain, great fireballs exploding above them, houses spontaneously catching alight, a darkness so pervasive that you couldn't see past your own hands - terms like holocaust, Armageddon were used frequently to describe it. And the noise - a roar so fierce that some were deafened temporarily by it. To me it seems a miracle that so many survived the ordeal.

People were prepared for a high tide and got a tsunami instead.

This event has touched many people worldwide. Apart from the obvious reasons, I feel the underlying ones are about grief for the world we have left behind. It is obvious to most that these fires and the conditions that created them are a direct result of global warming - and that this global warming is a direct result of human activity. This acceptance of responsibility is an important step in moving into the future.

I feel the threshold of denial has shifted significantly and more than ever before there is a critical mass of aware humans that can act consciously to minimise the destruction on the planet. Whilst we can't turn back the clock, by acting now, we can choose how severe these changes will be.
As I write this smoke drifts in my window on the easterly breeze from the fires still burning 300 km away.

Magaer Lennox

---

Related articles:

Australian firefighters close to containing blazes (Feb 13, 2009)
http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLD233923
SYDNEY, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Australian firefighters said on Saturday they were making progress putting out the last of the bushfires that killed at least 181 people, and hoped to bring all the blazes under control soon.Some 12 fires were still burning as of Saturday morning in the fire-ravaged southern state of Victoria, compared with more than 20 early on Friday, a spokeswoman for the state's Country Fire Authority told Reuters. "We made some good progress overnight and there's been some good containment lines made around the fires. At the moment we have 12 fires burning but they are working well to get them under control," the spokeswoman said. No emergency bushfire alerts were out on Saturday, she said. At least 181 people were killed in the fires, the worst natural disaster to hit Australia in more than a century. These figures are expected to rise once a fuller assessment is made.On Friday a man was charged with "arson causing death" and "intentionally or recklessly" lighting a fire near the town of Churchill last weekend.Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called the disaster "mass murder". Researchers believe about half of the bushfires in Australia are lit deliberately. The disaster area, more than twice the size of London and encompassing more than 20 towns, has been declared a crime zone. The fires have burnt 1,831 homes and left 7,000 people homeless.

Australian Bushfires Burn as U.S. Sends Assistance (Feb. 14) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=aTVJfS7Sepac&refer=asia
Twelve bushfires remain burning throughout Australia's Victoria state as the U.S. said it will send 60 experienced wilderness firefighters to help tackle Australia's deadliest blazes on record.Two or three blazes are burning out of control, while cooler temperatures and lighter winds have enabled "good progress" in other regions, said Sally Bateman, a spokeswoman at the Country Fire Authority. The U.S. is sending firefighters in response to a request from the Victorian government, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a statement.The death toll from the fires, which started a week ago, stands at 181 and the coroner is prepared for as many as 300 bodies, according to Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Feb. 12 promised to introduce an early warning system for bushfires that would send alerts to mobile phones and landlines in threatened areas."Australia is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season due to record high temperatures, drought, high wind and low humidity," Salazar said in the statement.The U.S. firefighters will be deployed for up t
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