You have probably already seen the reports of the fires which have come
through the Canberra area January 2003. Fortunately, so far neither I nor my
loved ones have been seriously affected by the fires. However Mt Taylor, about
200 m from Pilar's place, has been completely burnt out. And there are still
major fires to the West of my place, with a forecast for Westerly winds over
the next few days, so it's not over yet. However I thought you might be
interested by some
photos of what it was like around 2pm on Saturday 18th.
At the time, the firest were still around 20km West of me, but I had to use
a torch to walk around, in the middle of a Summer's day. The first photo was
taken about half an hour before the others, before the full darkness arrived
In fact, it was a bit strange. Saturday morning, I had taken my old Subaru up the mountain to see if I could see what was happening. On the way down, the clutch died, leaving it stranded on the side of the mountain on the road that the firefighters would have to use if the Tinderries caught fire (for those of you who don't know my place, this is a private road on my place, but it's a crucial part of the firefighting defences for the northern Tinderry range). Pretty risky if firefighting vehicles are rushing around in thick smoke. But there was no way my 2wd ute could drag it out of there. So I phoned Pilar to ask her if she could come out in her pajero to move it. Very bravely, she did so, heading out from the safety of suburban Canberra into the clouds of smoke she could see over my place. We got the car out, she stopped for a cup of tea then headed back to town, only to discover that the risk had been far greater there than in Urila - the fires had come within about 300m of her house!
postscript: I now have a 'new' 1975 Landcruiser, far better for my firefighting and other needs, and the subaru is destined for the wreckers' yard.