We have had another two days of breathing smoke in our fair but brown city. Victoria continues to burn.
There is quite a lot on the net about the bushfires. And they are bushfires, not forrest fires. The ABC has a useful and very current site but also there is an ABC historical site about the 1939 fires. I can't exactly recall the contents as it is a long time since I read it.
There is no comparison between the way we deal fires now and back then when 71 people died. We have come a long way with our methods and approaches, some typically Australian and others imported from overseas.
Even to compare now to back in 1983 when 47 lives were lost, there is still a gulf between then and now.
It is hard to imagine so many lives being lost now but it still could happen. Everyone is prepared for the fires we know about. A lot of preventative preparation has been achieved. But like driving, it is not necessarily what you see and avoid that is the worry. It is the out of the blue event, like sitting innocently at a red light and having a truck with no brakes plough into the back of you.
Some rain is on the horizon but we really need a good drenching to put the fires totally out. Even if they are put out, it is early summer still, with a long, hot and dry summer forecast and without doubt there will be more.
The professional and volunteer fire fighters deserve a mention. It is hard yakka whether they are paid or not. I think we may be approaching the time when volunteers may participate less in fire fighting and the presumably better trained professionals take a greater role. But there will always be a place for volunteer fire fighters in country towns.
What we need to fear most is a conflagration and it will only take the right combination of wind and heat and there is little that can be done to stop such a monster.