The harsher side to a beautiful land

7 Jan

When a place you’ve visited is featured on the news – and the news is not good – it just feels a little bit closer and a little bit more relevant. Suddenly you’ve seen the school they’re talking about, you’ve walked down the street now in devastation and had a drink in the coffee shop now standing amid the rubble. This is true for us now, just two weeks after visiting the beautiful island of Tasmania, the state is now being ravaged by bushfires and some are still burning out of control.

The truly devastating effects and indiscriminate nature of nature are clearly in evidence when you look at the images of the once picturesque coastal village of Dunalley, now smouldering in the ashes, gutted by the flames.

jettyfire

The Mercury

Dunalley Fire Aerial (The Australian)

Access to the Tasman Peninsula has been closed off for days when it was just days ago that James and I drove down that way in the camper car to visit Port Arthur. Now people are being evacuated by boat off the peninsula to Hobart.

I have only experienced a similar reaction to a news story when I saw the scenes in Thailand of the Boxing Day tsunami, a year to the day after I was sat on that same beach in Phuket. Yesterday we watched and were just thankful, not only for the timing of our holiday, but that so far, everyone has been accounted for and no lives have been lost in the Tasmanian fires. It was one of the few times we have been compelled to call the number on the screen and visit the website to donate money to the rescue and salvage operation. When you enjoyed a place so much and had a fantastic time because of its scenery and its people, you want to do what you can to protect that scenery and help those people.

Catastrophic fire warnings are now in place across parts of New South Wales as well, especially along the South Coast, where once again, James and I were just two days ago. When the ‘fire risk’ markers obliterate the map of your area you know it’s not a sensational news story and with temperatures in this part of the country set to soar to dizzying heights tomorrow, we are being told we face the biggest fire danger in the state’s history. Temperatures in Sydney are predicted to rise into the 40s and whereas we may be fortunate to escape to the sea breezes and a dip in the ocean, it’s all too easy to forget some will not be so lucky. With family travelling down the South Coast as we speak, we know people have their bags packed and ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.

It’s one of the harsher and sadder realities of living in such a hot climate and if anything makes you have a little more respect for nature, the pictures on our news channels at the moment will do just that.

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2 Responses to “The harsher side to a beautiful land”

  1. gpcox January 7, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    So sorry to hear about the fires, it looks like such a beautiful island.

  2. vonschlapper January 7, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    You’re right, it all comes back to home, when its somewhere you know. Xxx

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