Canberra Bushfires from the Watson Perspective.

Update on Monday morning, 20 January 2003.


Sunday was quiet: it wasn't windy, and it wasn't hot. The day dragged, because we were waiting for something to happen. The forecast for Monday and Tuesday was bad, but now that Monday has come, fortunately we are still in the low '30s, and only light winds.


We only got to see the news for the first time on the TV and in the paper yesterday, and we realise that, however worried or frightened we were, we got away with it. At the time, you don't know how it will end up, and so the waiting is the worrying time; you simply can't tell if you will get the fire or not, and there is nothing you can do about it. Just because you get away with it doesn't mean that it isn't frightening, because at the time you don't know if you will get away with it.


It all seems a bit like Russian roulette; some people saw nothing at all, some people on the eastern side of the city were in thick choking smoke for hours, some had cinders and burnt leaves pouring down on them. We were right on the edge of the smoke plume, but closer than most to the origin. Almost everyone knows someone who lost everything.


The roads around Higgins and Holt are open again. Amazingly, there is no sign of fire to the west of Holt: the explosion at the electricity station can't have been initiated by any fire at the station, but something elsewhere. A lot is burnt to the south, however. Clear lines have been graded to stop any fire, but they would only work in light winds: there is still an awful lot of flammable material waiting out to the west…



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