Today was declared a catastrophic fire day in the Mount Lofty Ranges (Adelaide Hills). On Friday the temperature reached 37 degrees celsius- hot, hot hot! In the city of Adelaide, some 20 kms away from us it was 42 degrees celsius- hot, hot, hotter! On Thursday a bushfire broke out (don’t know how, yet) about 30 kms north of where we live. We could see the column of smoke rising into the sky. At the end of the day we all went to the dam next door and cooled off. The evening was sultry and the air heavy. On dusk the moon in the sky turned red, so dense was the smoke.
This morning (Saturday) I awoke to the the smell of bushfire, hard to describe, but it is the distinctive smell of dry eucalypt burning. When I stepped outside the air was thick with smoke, all pervading.
I had to go to work, labouring for a friend. As I drove through the hills the sun was rising and the light filtered hazily through the smoke. It was only 6am but the heat was already in the day. The radio was alive with bushfire warnings, the fire was out of control, the winds were pushing the fire front south…in our direction.
At 10.30 am the small towns near Wildflowers were included in a list of of towns likely to be impacted by the fire. I called Liadhan to say it was probably time for her and the children to get out. Wildflowers is surrounded by pine and stringy bark forest and there is only one access track into the property. Liadhan had already made that decision and was packing the car with important documents and precious items. A state of emergency was declared by the South Australian government, so serious was the situation. We spent the day at our friends house.
The temperature peaked at 32 degrees, a cool changed rolled in about 3.00pm and the wind direction changed, lessening the threat to our property. We returned home to Wildflowers. It is much cooler this evening and the smoky smell has gone. There was a refreshing sprinkle of rain. The fire still burns, but the conditions have improved.
We were spared on this occasion but there were many who lost homes and property and had to endure the frightening experience of an out of control bushfire. Bushfire season is with us again.