Sunday, 6 January 2013

I woke in the night to the smell

of damp, charred wood. It meant the smoke from the fire south of us had finally reached us.
So far we have been lucky. Lucky in the sense that nobody has died during the fires of the past few days.
How lucky can be seen by looking at a map. There is a small peninsula east of Hobart in Tasmania. It was cut off by the fires. Many buildings have gone. People went into the water to get away from the flames - which went down to the shoreline. Many were eventually evacuated by boat.
One of the fires was apparently started by campers - who should not have been using an open fire at all at this time of the year. Another was started by arsonists. I cannot comprehend their stupidity. I wonder yet again what would happen if such a fire had trapped people in a valley rather than on a peninsula.
Many of our native trees are eucalypts and watching one catch alight and go up in flames is not exciting. It is terrifying because it occurs in a matter of seconds.
Fires move at incredible speeds. The heat they generate is extraordinary. They are not cosy little camp fires over which you cook toast and sausages and boil the water for billy tea.
The book I currently have on submission is about two children trapped in just such a situation. It is based on a story told to me when I was doing some research. Naturally I would like to see it published for myself but I would also like to see it published for another reason. I would like others to know that our bushfires or wildfires are terrifying things capable of destroying more than property.
And the aftermath of a fire has a lasting effect, especially if people lose their lives. I do not want that to happen. I know we will have fires though so I am going to write the sequel.


Rachel Fenton said...

Unbelievable someone would deliberately start a bush fire. Uttlerly crazy.

Good luck with your submission, Cat.
And Happy New Year.

catdownunder said...

Happy New Year to you too Rachel!