Friday, October 25, 2002

As I write, Sydney is blanketed in smoke from surrounding bushfires. Even inside the air-conditioned office, eyes are streaming and people are coughing continuously. The air smells strongly of eucalypt smoke.

Although this is a huge city (60 miles end to end), it is surrounded by very large stretches of bushland. To the south is the world’s second oldest National Park. To the North, Ku-Ring-Gai National Park, almost as big as the “Nasho”. And out to the West is the Blue Mountains Wilderness. Recently World Heritage listed, there are wilderness areas within 50 miles of the GPO that no European has ever set foot in. A few years ago, some abseilers stumbled across a canyon that had trees thought to be extinct for 30 million years. That gives you an idea of the ruggedness of the terrain, and the difficulty that fire crews have in reaching breakouts. Generally, they like to let the fires burn out when it doesn’t threaten property, and this is a good policy once established. First time through, it is spectacular.

We’re into one of the worst drought on record, and there is no end forecast for months. Fuel buildup has continued, despite hazard reduction burning and last year’s catastrophic fires. There is just too much bush.

This is the earliest start to the bushfire season that anyone can remember. Hopefully we won’t lose any fire fighters, but the odds are that a few will be caught, and someone will have to tell his mate’s wife what happened.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?