Fire storm

P1030857In mid-January temperatures in South Australia ran to daily maximums of 46 C (115 F) for most of the week; by week’s end a huge lightning storm and awful winds set parts of the tinder-dry grasslands of the state afire.


imageIn the Eden Valley fire, an area of almost 25000 hectares was burnt out, wiping out sheds, farm and wild animals,a number of houses and countless trees and wild flowers.

The CFS (Country Fire Service) held the fire line at the foot of the ranges along Three Chain Road, preventing it jumping across to the cropping and grazing country between Sanderston to the south and Truro to the north.

Properties in the foothills burnt so fiercely that the fire-fighters could not get in to contain the fire; Pine Hut Knob burnt down to blackened dirt and bare rocks, destroying our shed, our first vehicle – a 1969 FJ40 Land Cruiser - and years of effort planting native trees.

All gone, though trees over a decade old appear to have survived.

P1040021Up on the peak, our weather station also survived, recording the leap in wind speed and the sharp shift in wind direction that caught fire-fighters by surprise.

Wind change at 7pm on 17th Jan 2014


Now we await the autumn rains that will tinge the earth green with new grass and give the remaining trees a much-needed boost.

So not much comfort anywhere, except perhaps in the words of one of Australia’s great poets, Dorothea Mckellar, in her most famous piece “My Country”, contrasting the gentle lands of Europe with the harsh and ancient wild Australian landscape

P1030889My Country

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

P1030891I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

P1030899A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil.

P1030905Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

P1030924Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold -
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.

P1030956An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968)




Enchanted Moments said...

So sorry to hear of your loss, it was such a wicked week here in SA, and unfortunately we arent out of it yet....

Andrew said...

Thanks for your kind words, EM.
Yep, it's a tough break, but I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else. Cheers Andrew

Anonymous said...

I have really enjoyed reading about your trials, tribulations and successes in the garden over the past few months, and have picked up many handy hints. The fire was terrible and am sorry to hear how much it has impacted you and yours.

Veggie Gnome said...

Gosh, Andrew, I just (finally) came back to the blog and read your post. So sorry to hear about the loss of your property. I didn't know you had a property up there. Let's hope nature will do its job and regenerate soon. :)

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