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post #21 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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it just keeps climbing...

Monday, February 09, 2009 » 02:50pm

The death toll from Victoria's bushfires could top 200 as authorities sift through the piles of ash that were once entire communities.

The official toll rose to 126 on Monday.

More than 70 of those people died in the Kinglake fire, which has burnt through 220,000 hectares of the central highlands.

Senior fire and parks officials have told staff they fear there may be more than 200 deaths when the heartbreaking task of cleaning up is complete.

The fires are already Australia's worst natural disaster by far: worse than Ash Wednesday, Black Friday, Cyclone Tracy and even the Bali bombings.

Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers are struggling to cope emotionally.

There are so many bodies. Many don't even look like bodies and will require the attentions of specialised police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) teams.

DVI coordinator Inspector Greg Hough said the identification process would take a long time as fatalities had occurred across the state.

He called on families to do what they could to help identify loved ones but conceded that in many cases 'it will be done forensically'.

More than 750 houses have been destroyed and 330,000 hectares have been burnt.

There are 31 fires still raging throughout Victoria after record heat and wild winds set the state ablaze on Saturday.

The biggest current threat is in Beechworth, in the state's north, where a blaze is burning out of control, while the Churchill fires in Gippsland are also threatening homes.

The Beechworth blaze has burnt 30,000 hectares and continues to threaten the communities of Stanley, Bruarong, Dederang, Gundowring, Gundowring Upper, Kancoona, Kancoona South, Coral Bank,

Glenn Creek and Running Creek.

The fire has skirted Beechworth and is heading towards Yackandandah.

'There are seven or eight small settlements in the path of this fire and those residents have been urged to get their fire plans under way,' Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) spokesman Geoff Russell said.

All fire-devastated areas will be treated as crime scenes to determine if arson was involved, Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon said.

Emergency relief operations are underway throughout the state including a massive exercise at Whittlesea, which is serving survivors from Kinglake and its surrounds.

At least 20 people have been killed in Kinglake and nine in Kinglake West with dozens more fatalities in nearby communities, while at least 550 homes have been razed.

As refugees flooded down the mountain from Kinglake and surrounding townships into Whittlesea, relief workers headed the other way, taking desperately needed food, water and fuel supplies to those who have remained behind.

The death toll surpasses that from the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, in which 75 people died in Victoria and South Australia, and the Black Friday bushfires of 1939, which killed 71.



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post #22 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 08:19 PM
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How could they not know it was coming? How could they not get out of the way? This is too weird...
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post #23 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 08:36 PM
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As was said before, people just do not understand how fast a fire can move. If a fire gets big enough, it can create its' own microclimate. The updrafts from the heat create inward airflow, feeding in oxygen and increasing the heat. The updrafts also carry burning embers that can start other fires. When in this 'wildfire' stage, they will sound like an oncoming locomotive, moving very fast, and moving erratically, due to the effects of wind and terrain.

Smoke jumpers and hotshot crew carry one-man reflective tents that they can get into to survive being overrun by a fire, but sometimes the fire is too fast or too hot. They cannot get under cover fast enough, or the heat is too great for their protection. There are monuments all around the world to people that got caught in these things.
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post #24 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 09:41 PM
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Exactly right. These people can try to make a 'run' for it in their cars, and suddenly run into a wall of flames while the path behind them closes up with more of same.
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post #25 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 10:05 PM
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It's not like many of us have much experience around real-live life threatening fires. The dynamics involved aren't really associated with much else with which we've become accustomed via evolutionary encounters. In many ways, fire defies conventional logic and surprises the hell out of most who are in its wake.
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post #26 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 12:13 AM
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Bushfire death toll rises to 131 across Victoria | Herald Sun

I went on a drive along a fantastic road called "The Black Spur" that goes through this area about 3 months ago in my SL. It is only a day trip and although short, it's right up there with The Great Ocean Road for beautiful scenery and fabulous corners. The town of Marysville was a stop on our MB club SL day with lunch in a pub followed by a spirited drive up to Lake Mountain. Now it seems that it's all gone!

This is a shocking disaster and the people in Victoria have pledged to do what they can to help these disaster victims.

G'day Pubs :: The Black Spur Pub Trail

Marysville wiped off map
Article from: The Advertiser


February 08, 2009 10:30pm

THE 33 km-long Black Spur, winding its way from Healesville to Marysville, is one of the most breathtaking drives in the country, lined with towering mountain ash and ferns.

Now the road leads only to heartbreak and devastation, with the sleepy tourist township of Marysville virtually wiped off the map.

The town's economy is reliant on its majestic surroundings and abundant wildlife to draw in a steady stream of visitors from Melbourne, 96km away.

It's a friendly place of about 600 people, where everyone knows everyone and the local newspaper is run by an elderly volunteer.

Peaceful and beautiful in summer, the town really comes alive in winter when its population trebles thanks to the nearby Lake Mountain cross-country ski resort.

But the hotels and tourist attractions like Bruno's Art and Sculpture Garden have vanished into smoke and the popular waterfalls are choked with ash and soot.

Who knows how long it will take for the town to be rebuilt, for the forests to recover and for the tourists to return.

Roughly the same distance from Healesville but to the northwest, is Kinglake. A small township servicing the timber and farming industries, it's also beautiful, but doesn't attract nearly as many tourists. It too has been devastated. Anyone who has been there will know that Kinglake is a particularly bad place to be if a fire hits.

There are only three possible escape routes out of town, which can quickly become impassable because of falling trees.

And fire is an ever-present danger with the town razed to the ground in 1926 and hit hard on Ash Wednesday.

More recently, in 2006 it was on the verge of being wiped out again, but saved at the last minute by a thunderstorm.

Murrindindi Shire Mayor Lyn Gunter, who lives close by in Flowerdale, said that like most residents, the natural beauty of the area was why she'd made it her home.

"Like everybody that's there you go to enjoy the environment and you realise there is a risk of bushfire, but I don't think anyone could have predicted anything like this at all," she said.


"That's the way I like it baby, I don't want to live forever"- Lemmy

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post #27 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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now at 135, at least it is beginning to slow...



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post #28 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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at 166 this morning and as towns cool and rescue teams can get in, this number will jump again...

it has passed comprehension.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 » 05:35am

At least 166 people are dead and 24 blazes remain out of control as Victoria's bushfire crisis enters its fourth day.

The death toll from the bushfires is certain to rise further as more remains are found in more than 700 burnt-out homes strewn through the 330,000ha so far razed in Australia's worst bushfire disaster.

Most of the latest people confirmed dead were killed in the small towns of Strathewen and St Andrews, on Melbourne's bushy northeastern fringe.

There are now 22 people confirmed dead at St Andrews, a town with a population of about 1,500 people. Strathewen, with only 450 people prior to the bushfires, lost 26 residents to the inferno that swept through on Saturday.

Whole towns have been declared crime scenes, with fears many of the fires that broke out on Saturday and claimed so many lives were deliberately lit.

But police say they are closing in on an arsonist thought responsible for the deadly Churchill-Jeeralang fire in Gippsland and recent fires at nearby Boolarra.

Fire authorities fear the worst of the fires could take weeks to contain.

Specialist teams used in the aftermath of the Bali bombings have been recruited for the gruesome task of locating and identifying victims of the fires.

Meanwhile, Premier John Brumby has announced a royal commission to examine the state's emergency response and possibly review the longstanding 'stay and defend or leave early' policy aimed at mitigating the risk of fatalities from bushfires.

The largest of the fires, known as the Kinglake Complex, has consumed 220,000ha of land and more than 550 homes and has killed 140 of the 166 confirmed victims - including those at St Andrews, Strathewen and nearby Kinglake.

Thirty-five people perished at Kinglake - the greatest single loss of life in these fires - when a ferocious wall of flame swept straight up the heavily timbered Great Dividing Range, taking all in its path.

It has cut a terrible swathe across Victoria's central highlands, from Wandong, south as far as St Andrews and east and north through Marysville, Taggerty and Flowerdale towards the upper Goulburn Valley.

Department of Sustainability and Environment spokeswoman Nina Cullen said residents in an area on Healesville's southeastern outskirts were under heavy ember attack from a 150ha fire at Mt Riddell, about 4km southeast of the town.

It was a similar situation at Toolangi, a few kilometres north, where a 50ha fire was bombarding the tiny mountain village with embers.

'There was a water outage for Healesville residents (late Monday evening) but that has since been rectified and water supply is back on,' Ms Cullen told AAP.

'There hasn't been any reported losses at this point.'

Both fires were being fanned by a strong southerly breeze.

The Beechworth blaze has burnt 30,000ha and continues to threaten the communities of Dederang, Gundowring, Gundowring Upper, Kergunyah South, Glenn Creek and Running Creek.

Residents in those communities have been asked to enact their fire plans.

The deadly Churchill-Jeeralang fire in Gippsland, which has claimed 21 lives, was threatening the township of Won Wron and remains out of control but has been downgraded.

Police have confirmed that they believe the same man who lit the devastating Delburn Complex of fires around nearby Boolarra last month, destroying 29 houses and more than 6,000ha, is the same person responsible for the Churchill blaze.

It's expected police will on Tuesday release an image of a man sought for questioning over the fires.

'We'll soon be in a position to provide face images of people we believe responsible,' Morwell Detective Sergeant Brett Kahan told The Age.

In a win for firefighters, the grass fire that has ravaged about 9,500ha near Redesdale, south of Bendigo, was contained by late Monday.

The weather may pose further problems for firefighters, particularly north of the divide.

Isolated showers are predicted on and south of the divide on Tuesday but it will remain dry in the north.

Moderate to fresh southwest to southerly winds are forecast, with very high to extreme fire danger in the north.

A fire weather warning is in place for the northern country and north central forecast districts, with humidity down to 14 per cent and winds up to 45km/h.

More than 240 firefighters from NSW, 95 from the ACT, 94 from Tasmania and 69 from South Australia have joined Victorian crews, along with disaster identification experts from around the nation.

A further 22 firefighters from Western Australia are expected to arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday.



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post #29 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Now at 173...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 » 02:03pm

The RSPCA is gearing up to take care of family pets, livestock and wildlife hurt in the ferocious Victorian bushfires.

RSPCA chief executive Maria Mercurio says that as the areas devastated by bushfire open up only then will Australians understand the full brunt of the tragedy on animals.

She said RSPCA shelters and inspectors have been working around the clock to be ready to provide emergency assistance to animals.

'We are able to offer short-term emergency accommodation and veterinary care to pets at our shelters across Victoria,' Ms Mercurio said.

'Some of our regional shelters have been assisting with emergency accommodation since Saturday.'

Many animals which have managed to survive the fires have been without food or water since Saturday.

Ms Mercurio said government departments and other animal welfare agencies will provide emergency care to wildlife, companion animals and livestock while delivering pet food, much of it donated, to relief centres across Victoria.

She said if people are able to support the emergency relief effort, they can complete the assistance form on the website RSPCA Victoria: Home detailing the support they can offer.

'For those not affected by the bushfires and who might be considering adopting a pet, now is an ideal time as it will free up kennels and allow us to take in more animals for emergency accommodation,' Ms Mercurio said.



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post #30 of 41 (permalink) Old 02-09-2009, 10:16 PM
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Sad! I hope you lost no one.
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