Well we didn’t get lucky and escape these South Australian bushfires, the one I have been concerned about for the last couple of days had a wind direction change and it came on to our property, Caloundra Station. Luckily for me, my husband a veteran CFS volunteer happened to be here as the fire truck that had called for him couldn’t wait the 20 minutes for him to travel from our property to the fire shed.
I was out watering the tomatoes (as you do) and preparing the property for another hot night when I noticed white flakes coming from the sky and appearing on the cat’s fur that had followed me up to the vegetable garden. Being a city girl I had to ask the question, “are we safe with ash raining down on us?” the fire was over 16km away at this stage. The answer was yes, but we had better check the Mount Rescue our Ngarkat boundary.
There is was, we could see the flames from a distance away but none the less we knew it was going to hit us. We weren’t as safe as we thought. Husband donned his CFS gear and headed to the fire whilst I got ready to leave, but then it all happened quickly. He called, I couldn’t leave as there wasn’t time for anyone to come and help so I also put on fire appropriate clothing (his old CFS uniform) boots etc and drove up to him. We then had to sit and wait with the fire fighter at the ready. We retreated back as the flames were a couple of stories high and not safe for anyone to enter into. My heart races, my mouth dries up and I know I shake – adrenaline fear.
We waited for it to jump the fence and start spot fires, and just as it was doing this the CFS fire truck turned up, you do not know how welcoming those red and blue flashing lights are. The people who are on them give you the thumbs up as they drive directly into the line of fire.
They are in uniform, gloves, boots, hard hats and safety masks – it was still over 35 degrees when this was happening. But it is safety first. It jumped and raced along faster than anything I have seen, the sky around us was very black and thick with smoke and you sit there dripping with sweat waiting to go in and help extinguish fires. I watched it race and heard it running into neighbours properties, as more and more fire trucks turned up.
Then we see the wild life, the kangaroos who happened to get out of fire, come racing towards us. They stop and rest, some don’t survive, some are singed and others just fleeing to safety away from the fire. They shall live on our property for days till the land cools and here there is water and some feed. My husband says he saw about 40 of them this morning all milling around watching and waiting. We are safe, no livestock lost, our neighbours are in the same boat, it’s fencing and trees.
Stay safe everyone, stay alert and thanks for everyone’s thoughts and good wishes, it’s trying times for all in the Upper South East of South Australia. Here is a picture of the fire jumping into our property at 2100 last night.