Australia is on fire

We arrived in Australia mid-August 2008. February 2009 introduced us to the bushfires of Australia and we mourned with the rest of the country when Black Saturday in February 2009 robbed this country of 173 lives. I cried with my new compatriots as I watched in horror how the flames consumed everything in its path. I was a foreigner in this country and wanted to call this home, but this worse ever disaster in the history of Australia, scared me.
And here we are, six years later and the country is on fire once again. I can see the towering column of smoke of the uncontrolled fire that is raging in Bulls Brook, about 30 minutes from us. The smoke and ash have found their way to our suburb and the sky has the appearance of polaroid sunglasses. The fires, like the flies and the red backs have become normal, almost expected events in our seasonal daily lives. It does not make it less dangerous, but we have devised coping strategies over the years to deal with the events should they come within arms’ length.
Heat and fires are pretty closely related. Here in the northern suburbs of Perth(WA) we had a 44.4 degrees on the 5th of January 2015. The strong winds contribute to fires taking on lives of their own and little coals travelling kilometres from the original fire.
What do you have to do to be prepared for a fire? Here is a short summary of the most necessary steps, but please visit www. .dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation for more detailed information.
1. If you live in bushlands, do you have a bushfire survival plan?
2. Have you prepared your home and property for the event of a bushfire?
3. Think about an alternative water supply than the main hosepipe. The firies will need access to main water
supplies.
4. What about your animals?
5. Defending you home against a fire is frightening. Are you really prepared for it?
A beautiful aspect of this country is the volunteering factor. Our prime minister is a volunteer firefighter. They risk their lives when there are fires.
But, dear migrant on your way to The Great Southland,
When you read about the fires, the flies, the cyclones, the spiders and the snakes, you may sometimes wonder if you are doing the right thing for your family. Yes, it is a country of extremes. But in my opinion it is these extremes that make Australia such a sought after place. Not because of the destruction but because the true Aussie gets to shine through in this time. This is when you come face to face with what we call Aussie Mateship.
“She’ll be alright, mate,” they will say while the soot is smeared on their cheeks.
“She’ll be alright mate,” they will say as the Salvos and Red Cross start to move in with donations from other Aussies from other states, who heard that their mates were doing it tough. The countrymen will stand up in unison and will start rebuilding, refitting, reclothing and feeding those who cannot do it for themselves at that moment in time.
You’ll be alright mate, when you land this side. You’ll be alright mate.
This is why I call Australia home.

2 thoughts on “Australia is on fire

  1. I know people who took the plunge and moved to Australia from South Africa. They also commented on the feeling of unity in Australia, no matter where you are from; something South Africa lacks in abundance

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    • I must say that I recently read a post of a lady in Grahamstown who helped her gardener replace his stolen equipment and that made me very proud – because she did not do it by herself – expats and compatriots helped her to help him.

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