Monday, February 16, 2009

Great news from Liz Newand in Australia about our Australian Manx

Thank you for your enquiry about our welfare. It is very difficult to keep up with the enquiries we are getting from over Australia and the world, as well as cope with getting our own safety looked after [ buckets hoses, getting the essentials together if we have to evacuate ] and feeding the evacuees from Marysville etc and through Rotary organising the distribution of the mountain of clothes, bedding, toiletries etc pouring into Alexandra.

The town is like an armed camp, with 200 firefighters, the Army, Helicopters overhead, streets and shopping centre full of evacuees. The sky is largely smoke , although it is much improved today. We are not in any real danger now unless there is a violent wind change, but certainly from Saturday night until yesterday the threat was real. Mari & Maurie

And from Harkaway Victoria just north of Melbourne metropolitan area - incident on 7 Feb 2009 when much was happening.
Hi all,
We had a very close call on Sat. 4.30 p.m. when some clown set off a fire by using an angle grinder out doors on a 46 Deg.C day ( specifically forbidden by law). We had no warning because he was only 2k away and it got here in no time, wiping out 1 1/2 houses on the way. The whole village got out as quickly as we could, leaving everything, there was a wall of flame 50 mtrs from our houses and we appeared to have no chance of saving anything but ourselves. The saving grace was a road between us and the flames and the fire-fighters obviously decided to make a stand there, even then I would not have given them much chance. We left in two cars, me a bit later than Norma, and as I stood at a roundabout and could see the flames round a house and in bushes and trees a helicopter tanker came over and I looked up and wondered where he was going and thought to myself " We could really do with you mate, here". Suddenly Whoosh down came his load and just about put that bit out. Bit by bit apparently, over the next hour they put out most of the threats but we didn't know this from our relatively safe haven 5 km away. A wind change at about 5.10 pm was also a huge factor in our escape but the same wind change probably cost others dearly.

We weren't allowed back until 11.00pm and then not with our cars, they let us walk in ' at our own risk' and it wasn't until mid-day Sunday they lifted most of the restrictions on movements.This is one of the success stories perhaps people need to hear about because the rest of the picture is one of grim tragedy laced with the odd good fortune. It's not over by a long shot, next door has just been in and it seems that 4 houses were lost as the fire headed in toward us, he also said there's more very hot weather due next week. We know we can't save our houses if it comes, the lovely unkempt bush around us comes at a price. Our task now is to consider moving some important things out or at least ready to go, documents photos etc.
This is the longest e-mail I've ever done, thanks for thinking of us, ours was nothing. The rest of Victoria doesn't bear thinking about but we are of course as we try to listen for the odd items of good news. See you in July, all being well.
Cheers ,
George&Norma.

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