Actually, smoke on and in everything. The fires continue to burn. Everyone and everything here in the Meander Valley, Tasmania Australia has been shrouded in smoke since Tuesday. And it’s worse. Thicker, smellier, nastier.
The fires burning around The Great Western Tiers are in extremely remote bushland. They are difficult to access and therefore to fight and control. The local firefighters as well as firefighters from other states of Australia have joined forces to try and bring them under control. Yesterday another spot on the North West Coast had a fire emergency. At this moment no loss of life and no loss of property has happened. The people who live in the bushy remote areas have followed instruction and all are safe so far.
We are vigilantly watching the The Tasmanian Fire Service website. Here in our area we’ve seen all three warnings upgraded, downgraded, upgraded again and again and again. I’m exhausted so I can’t imagine how those closer to the fires are feeling.
Last night ash fluttered down all around us leaving a layer on everything. It was quite frightening. Before I went to bed I walked around the house several times to satisfy myself that it was cool ash and wasn’t a risk (and we monitored the Fire web site – nothing to worry about).
Louise related a story to me this morning. An older gentleman from Mole Creek (just 30 minutes drive from here and much closer to the fires than we are) was talking about the last time The Great Western Tiers had experienced a fire event like now. It was over 100 years ago. It burned for months due to the thickness of the bush. Of course 100 years ago they didn’t have helicopters with water bombing equipment or as many access roads. We are all hoping for the forecasted rain early next week (anyone know the steps of the Rain Dance?).
Fires like this are not part of our normal in Tasmania. We are all shocked by it in many ways. Fire is part of the natural regeneration of the bush, yes, but not to this scale; everything will grow back and renew in time. I prefer controlled burnoffs to this. Many environmentalists question this practice. Many people with respiratory problems also question it. I’d rather see controlled burns than entire forests and areas go up in smoke together with the loss of animal habitat. I’d rather get a warning and know that for a few days it’s going to be smoky than the angst of not knowing when the fires are going to be put out and if I have to evacuate my home. We are here to manage the land for everyone’s good (people both present and future, flora and fauna). We need to care for it rather than lock it away and then risk it all going up in smoke due to mismanagement. Ooops that was not about running….that was my view on land management….
But the smoke, oh the smoke. It’s just plain nasty. And it is travelling far. Launceston is also shrouded in the smoke. It’s just sitting there in the valley, all nestled in.
To run or not to run? It’s the middle of summer but several outside pools closed yesterday. Launceston parkrun has already foreshadowed that it will most likely be cancelled tomorrow due to the poor air quality. Much discussion was had between Pauly and I at 5:45am as I prepared for the regular Friday run with Louise. In the end I compromised. Louise was happy to go a little later and we cut the distance down to 10kms.
This smoke could be around for a while and we just can’t go that long without running. And we weren’t the only ones out. We rarely see another runner in Deloraine but we did see all the regular early morning walkers. We did a lap of the football oval and saw a number of people with their horses who have evacuated their homes and are camping there (they are from properties with a lot of bush around them, so safer to leave).
I’ve watched alerts go from blue to yellow to blue to yellow and a few times to red for areas a little further away than us. Truly scary.
Smoke on the water, smoke everywhere. Hoping for a cool change and rain to douse the fires and to wash the land and the air clean.
Happy running 🙂