I noticed her anxious look so I asked if she was ok. There is an Emergency Fire Warning for Mole Creek and Chudleigh, she said.
Serious? This is just half an hour from home. We were at work in Deloraine so like the lady I spoke to, I decided to leave work early and go home.
There’s been smoke for days. Smoke just hanging in the air like smog or fog or a combination of both. The West Coast of Tasmania has 80 wild fires burning and the smoke is drifting all over the island. We’d slept with the bedroom air conditioner going, but when I walked in to the rest of the house early this morning all I could smell was a stale acrid smell. Smoke. I had to go to Devonport for work so I checked the Tasmanian Fire Service web site. Nope, no fires nearby, all down the West Coast.
I was shocked when I heard that there were fires so close to home. They started midday. The smoke was dark, dense and thick on the farm by the time I arrived home just before 4pm.
I tuned the radio in the car to the emergency station on my drive home. Dairy Plains Watch and Act. Dairy Plains??? That’s like 5kms as the crow flies. That’s like…I can see that from home. That’s close!
I called Pauly who was totally oblivious to the warnings but well aware of the close proximity of the fires. He wasn’t worried. (Does this man ever worry???)
Again I checked the warning. Watch and Act. Embers expected in Dairy Plains in two hours. Enact your fire emergency plan now. The fire will be difficult to contain. I heard this on the radio and TV and read it on the web site. I was worried.
I received so many messages from friends asking me if all was ok. I felt loved. But I was still scared.
The question is what would you save?
Watch and Act means there is a bit of time. It doesn’t mean evacuate immediately. There was time to think about what I might save.
We live in the middle of farm lands. Lots of paddocks between us and any bush (bush is what Australians call forest or woodland). We don’t really have a fire plan as such. Pauly would direct some irrigators onto the house and we would go to the dairy where the land is clear, there’s lots of cement and there are lots of high pressure hoses. We have a loose plan but I’ve never thought of what I might have to save.
I had time to put a few things in the car just in case.
What did I put in the car?
- I got out the cat travel box and a possum trap. We have two cats but only one cat box. A possum trap would’ve done the trick. I covered my back seat with a waterproof (I love my car even in the midst of an emergency I’m going to look after the leather seats!)
- I put my baby albums and the two scrap books Louise made for me in the boot.
- Oh and I packed a set of running gear, GPS watches, Pauly’s wedding ring AND my makeup! I may become homeless due to a fire but I’m not going without my lipstick.
I thought about other things. It was only a Watch and Act for the neighbouring area (5kms away) not for ours so I had time to think. But when I thought of things all I could think of was that the most precious things to me are no longer here on the farm. They have flown the nest: Brown eyed Daughter #1 and H, Blondie Daughter #1 and Son #1. The next most important people to save are my beautiful cats Mintie and Poppy who are currently locked inside and wondering what all the fuss is about. I would have to save them. As for Pauly he’s very resilient, if anyone needs saving in this relationship it would be me.
At the end of the day it is the people in my life who are the most important things. We could rebuild everything else but we could never get back a loved one that was lost.
No running for me today. Instead much watching and walking around to monitor what’s going on outside.
What would you save if you only had half an hour to think and gather with a car to carry it in?
Happy running 🙂
PS Our Tasmanian Fire Service web site has all the safety information needed on how to be prepared for a bush fire and what to do. I felt safe knowing that all was being monitored. The updates were regular. A huge big shout out to our Firies, almost all of whom are volunteers in Australia. What would we do without them?