I awoke this morning to find a smokey haze hanging over our house, and the distinct smell of bush fires in the air.




We have had some extreme heat the past few days - yesterday was 44C, and with not a lot of rain for the past few months the grass and bush is tinder dry in the Mount Lofty Ranges, which fringe the city of Adelaide.


My Dad lives in an area that is currently under thread from an erratically burning bushfire, not that close but close enough to cause anxiety and for him to have to action his bushfire plan. Hopefully the township of Stirling will be OK - the big Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 reached the bottom of the garden before the wind swung around and the house and garden were saved. But wind changes can also cause devastation and destruction, so this afternoon may bring relief to some, and disaster to others when the expected cooler change arrives with its huge wind gusts.


Hopefully there will be no loss of life - already homes have been lost in the North East of the city in the semi rural areas there. Fires are also burning out of control in Country Victoria. It's not going to be a good season this year.




As you can imagine we are all feeling somewhat on edge, sitting at home in our air conditioning and waiting to hear if things are ok. I thought I'd post some photos I took of Dad's home and garden last week. It was green and cool and verdant.


Update: the cool change has led the fire in a direction away from my Dad's and was thankfully always a reasonable distance from Stirling although due to it burning in all directions was a concern. It's still burning out of control and is expected to continue for the next week with more high temperatures in the latter part of the week. 

50 comments:

  1. Heidi, I was wondering how you were faring with the bush fires. Do hope your Father and the dogs are safely out of harm's way.

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    1. He has said he'll bring the dogs down to us Claire, but I'm not sure if he's left it too late and won't be able to come down the hill now. He does have a fire safe room if it gets to that point. Hopefully not.

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    2. Oh dear, that is very worrying for you. Please may he not have to use the fire safe room.

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  2. Oh my gosh, this all sounds quite unnerving. The world's climate seems to have gone a little erratic on us all. Last year at this time, we were experiencing record heat in December/January. This year, we are back to our normal cool winter.

    I do wish you all the best of luck and hope your father's beautiful home and garden (and yours) will fare well.

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    1. Thank you CD - we will be fine as we're in the city, but those in the foothills and the hills townships are extremely nervous. The fires are quite ferocious at the moment. This is our traditional bushfire season, but it has been a very dry Spring, and there's a lot of fuel on the ground.

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  3. Heidi,I do hope those fires stay away and how unnerving is right!
    What a gorgeous home your father has and I've never seen a stone home (was it built of stone with fires in mind?) in that style and what is that style called pray tell? Some type of NSW Gothic? Love the pup!

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    1. We're watching the news updates and hoping it stays away.
      No houses are built of timber traditionally in South Australia - there were no large native forests to cut down for wood for an alternative building material, so it was all stone or brick. The stone was quarried from the bottom of the garden for the house, so is completely local sandstone. It's called Scottish Baronial in style, and was built circa 1890-91. Scruffy (the dog) is a ratbag!

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  4. I woke in the middle of the night and could taste the bushfire smoke in the air! We live very close to Morialta Conservation Park. I had a SMS from CFS this morning, but our suburb safe for the moment. Best wishes for your Dad - I sure hope the fire doesn't get to Stirling. Bring on some rain, I say. Keep cool. Jo xx

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    1. It was very thick this morning over the city too, all gone now, but scary for you with the message to accompany it. Hope they're able to get it under control soon and yes to the rain! But just not the lighting and wind. Stay safe Jo x

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  5. Thinking of all affected. Never forget the fires in Sydney near my parents' home. Frightening experience. Stay safe xx

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    1. It's awful when it's so close to a CBD - you just know it's more heavily populated and that more people and homes are at risk. I remember the Sydney fires well. Sadly many homes have already been lost and lots of livestock as well. Hopefully they'll be able to get it under control soon.

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    2. Heartbreaking. :-(
      Incinerator???!!!
      Murderous thoughts.

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  6. Praying that all will be well for everyone in the area, Heidi.

    Take care.

    SSG xxx

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    1. Thanks SSG, hopefully no lives lost x

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  7. Hi Heidi - we are in the suburbs but above the protection line so we are ready to leave if need be - we got the cfs message to take shelter this morning - the smoke woke us up about 3 .30 am when greenwith was threatened - my parents are outside birdwood and staying - filling gutters with water and using the pumps - the scale and unpredictability are such a worry

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    1. Scary - the wind has really picked up now that the cool change is sweeping through. Hope you are safe anon, and your parent's too.. Birdwood is right in the line, so I'll keep everything crossed for you that they are safe and their property unscathed too.

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  8. Oh Heidi...this makes me so stressed and anxious. I pray that all will be safe, unharmed, and free from damage. I hope you father just stays away after he does what he has to do. Please keep us updated.

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  9. Just checked google and I hope it's true that rain will come tonight for the hills? Fingers and toes crossed x

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    1. It looks like the wind change has not had such huge gusts as expected, so it's heading away from Stirling again. The fires are not under control, but Dad looks fine. Awful for the people who have lost their homes. livestock and pets, especially given that it was started by someone using an incinerator on a total fire ban day, in a semi-rural area when it was 44C!!! Unbelievable. I hope they bring criminal charges against him.

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  10. Heidi
    Have been thinking of you all ever since we heard the weather forecasts last night. We'd just got home late this afternoon after seeing "The Imitation Game" (brilliant by the way) when we saw the dreadful TV news about the bushfires sweeping through out of control. Everyone in Canberra can relate to how the people of Adelaide must be feeling.

    And after seeing your father's and his friends' wonderful heritage gardens only a few months ago we're anxiously watching the news and weather. Hope your father had time to get out before it was unsafe to do so. But glad also to hear that he has a safe room to retreat to if necessary.

    You're all in our prayers.

    Pammie xxxx

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  11. Oh God hope all will be ok- luff the garden and take CARE!!! all of you xxx

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  12. We're at Redwood Park and have had smoke and ash over the house - I packed the box of important things and took it with me into the city today. All because some complete bonehead decided to use an incinerator on a day of catastrophic fire danger. It beggars belief that people can be so unfathomably stupid.

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    1. Hope your place is still ok Beth - so scary, and will be for the next week, so I'm sure you're on tenterhooks. Fingers crossed they get it under control soon.

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    2. All still good but don't like the wind that's whipped up this evening . . . :/

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  13. Sending thoughts and prayers fir everyone's safety! I love your dad's place! 44! Phew - we were -25 the other night! Cannot imagine that kind of heat!

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    1. Thanks Wendy! I can't imagine such cold at the moment (sounds nice actually!). All the plants were scorching in the heat, and we'll have more days like that ahead of us I'm sure.

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  14. The one reason I hate summer in Australia - bushfires. My mother was caught in one as a very young child and left her with a vivid and horrific memory of it all her life.
    I think if we ever instigate another public holiday it should be for all Emergency Workers of Australia. The bravest and most selfless people on the planet. I hope your father and all others are safe.
    Linda C.

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    1. I don't think it's anything you could ever get out of your head. I remember so clearly the Ash Wednesday bush fires, and I was 8 and living in the city. But the stories of friends who fought the fires, and people we knew who lost our homes really stuck in my mind. It sent a shiver down my spine to hear that yesterday was equal to the same conditions back then.

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  15. Hi Heidi this isn't good our first really hot days and there's serious fires. Hope your father is safe. I live in Dernancourt and woke several times during the night and the house was full of smoke. This morning it was a thick haze in the backyard.

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    1. The smoke haze was horrible yesterday morning Karen, hope all is ok at your place too with the smoke, and lets hope the bush fires are brought under control and the extreme heat stays away.

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  16. Hope you're all Ok over there...

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    1. We're ok, but we have some friends who have properties that they are defending, so are keeping our fingers crossed for them.

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  17. Have been thinking of your father Heidi, plus several other families we know in Stirling. Rain has finally come to Melbourne after 2 terribly hot days (it's just started raining here at 1am), so hopefully the cool weather has reached the Hills too. We moved out of Olinda (the Adelaide Hills of Melbourne) for this very reason: the ongoing threat of bushfires. It's such a sickening feeling, although the Hills has better exit routes than Olinda.

    Your father will surely be okay. A fire safety room is far better than being outside, if it comes to that.

    We all hope that those wonderful fire fighters (inc the ones driving down from NSW) get it under control.

    Thinking of you all.

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    1. So wish we had the rain here! Just a few spots and then it was gone, but fortunately cooler today (30), so that will help with the efforts to get it under control. The roads to Olinda are difficult indeed - a friend's parent's live there, and she is always terrified when there are fires in the Dandenongs. We'll be welcoming the NSW fire fighters with open arms - the CFS here are all exhausted from the past 48 hours.

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  18. So frightening Heidi, and to see these pictures of your father's beautiful serene house and green gardens, the contrast between that and a bushfire is quite nerve-wracking. I hope and pray everyone stays safe, and that the rain comes and it is windless. xo

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    1. It looks so green it's hard to imagine, but the hills are very dry at the moment, and there's a lot of National Park in the area, so there's fuel all around. He's spending his time preparing the house and getting organised. Hopefully it won't come near him, but this is the start of the fire season, so he's better off being prepared anyway.

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  19. Terrible, Heidi. Hope that the fires are under control v soon.
    What a total idiot to light an incinerator. People are sometimes so stupid it defies belief.
    Lots of love xxx

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    1. Incinerator guy is claiming he didn't light a fire, so I guess time will tell once the investigators finish their investigations and report on it. x

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  20. Good news to report, Heidi. Our vineyard at Lenswood remains intact after yesterday's danger and the house, not far away, remains standing. Such a blessed relief!

    Melody

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    1. Melody, oh my goodness, you were right in the line of it. So glad that everything is intact so far, and hoping that the fires stay away from you while they get them under control.

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  21. Have been thinking of your Dad Heidi. Hope today brings respite for all. xx

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  22. I thought of you yesterday when I heard about the fires. My prayers and thoughts are with you, your family and others threatened. Mother Nature can be a formidable beast. Hugs kl

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    1. Thanks KL, she can indeed. Hopefully the fires will be brought under control this week x

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  23. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed for a safe outcome! How do you prepare for such an earth-shattering moment though? Sometime the cold is a good thing...no cat sized spiders or bush fires in London, yet.

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    1. Everyone in the bushfire zones (essentially everyone not living in the city) is supposed to have a bushfire plan, and they advise that you need to either evacuate early or stay and fight (but if you stay you're supposed to be well prepared… although there were scenes of people on the news with bare feet, shorts on and buckets dousing flames, which is not what they advise). All the schools ask for your bushfire plan so they have it on file too… we're all fairly well prepared now, but it's still frightening and unpredictable.
      Yes, there are downsides to living with nature! Large spiders, dog sized possums and bush fires are a few!

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  24. Hi Heidi, I've been thinking of your dad the last 2 days & hope that the news is still good for him, such a wonderful time of the year that is always tempered by the land we live in.
    Engracia
    xx

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    1. Thanks Engracia, all fine so far x

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  25. Dear Heidi,
    Thinking of you a this terrible time. I see things have settled down but it is till terribly scary. I lived my teenager years in the town of Inglewood which has been quite in the middle of the fire storm and all the surrounding towns that are so familiar. My heart breaks at the homes lost and and the Tee Tree Gully Dog kennels at the foot of our drive home was destroyed with many animals perishing.
    We were in Melbourne yesterday and I have never felt that hot dry northerly wind so fierce. It was terrifying to think what might happen.
    All the best to your family.
    Kate Bx

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    1. It was heartbreaking to hear of all the animals perishing in the fire, there'll be a lot of heartbroken families coming home from their holidays. All the wildlife and sheep and goats etc too. It's such a big fire, it's really quite unbelievable… no doubt you appreciate it if you grew up in the area. Fingers crossed they get it under control before it gets hot tomorrow and Wednesday too x

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