Please excuse the play on words. It may be Christmas but, down here in Oz, it is the height of summer, in fact Monday was the longest day. Being the longest day may have a different meaning for the various folks involved in fighting the bush fires raging across the country. With temperatures up in the mid to high thirties these folks will be sweltering dressed in their safety gear while they fight to close down these fires.
Earlier yesterday (Monday) afternoon, we had noticed that there was a lot of aerial activity and had seen helicopters and fire fighting (air attack) planes buzzing across the sky.
Planes similar to the following..
It transpires they were probably headed for a bushfire which started on Brentwood Road in Wattle Grove area of Kenwick, a Perth suburb, just 10 kilometres (6 miles) away from where we are.
My granddaughter, returning from the gym, had asked if we had seen the smoke while we were out earlier. Apparently, this local bushfire was just a short distance away from where her friend lives.
The following picture shows the plume of smoke visible from the front doorstep.
Later in the afternoon, while I was typing this post we became aware of a fresh plume of smoke, this time in the exact opposite direction from the original fire.
This fire was near Waterperry Drive just under 4 kilometers (2.4 miles) away.
The wind was blowing the smoke directly over our heads and down into the garden along with ash from the fire. As soon as we noticed the ash, Steve had the air-con turned off. Apparently fires can be transferred by hot embers being sucked into the air-con and entering the roof space.
Soon there were more aircraft in the skies overhead. A helicopter from Channel 7 News was sat up high, make slow circuits round the site of the fire. This was then joined by a small biplane, assumed to be a scout for the emergency services. Through the tree lines I saw at least two of the “attack” aircraft heading into the fire zone. Shortly after, two helicopters entered the fray.
These aircraft are Bell 214B-1 operated by McDermot Aviation. They carry water in “the ‘Tsunami” Belly Tank” slung between the skids. You can also see the “elephants trunk” hanging below, which they can dip in any nearby water source and use to refill the tank.
The two choppers were making regular circuits, flying off to refill, then returning to douse the fire. Out of site from my viewing point I assume there were many fire fighters active on the ground. I could hear sirens for the emergency service vehicles from my location.
Later in the evening you wouldn’t have known that there had been a fire. The skies were totally clear of any smoke from either of the bush-fires, although they were still the subject of active alerts.
Thankfully, according to the local news, nobody was harmed in either incident. Though, some property was lost to the fires.
This is, apparently, the closest fire to their home that my daughter and her husband have experienced. Lets hope there are no more but, with the temperatures set to rise in the next two days, we won’t be holding our breath.
There is also a suspicion that at least one of these fires was started deliberately. Given the monetary cost, and the potential risk to human life, should either case be found to be arson then the full weight of the legal system should be brought to bear.