‘Set fire to the broken pieces; start anew.’
– Lauren DeStefano
Information true at the time of writing (31/01/2019 – 13:00).
Now I know most people are usually working on New Year’s Resolutions in January – and I’m sure I will post something about this at a later date.
But right now, I want to take some time out to acknowledge the truly horrific bushfire season Australia is currently suffering from.
Fires of this intensity, size and duration are unprecedented, with Australia already seeing multiple fatalities and homes lost – and we’re only one month into summer.
Due to our record-low rainfall, soil moisture at all-time lows, and dry and windy conditions across the country, Australia is not set for relief any time soon.
At the time of writing (updated 05/01/2020), the losses are as follows:
|STATE||DEATHS||MISSING||HOMES LOST||HECTARES (h) BURNED|
Do You Have A Bushfire Survival Plan?
There are a lot of questions surrounding why Australia is currently experiencing such a horrific bushfire season, and what is going to be done to contain this.
But as the country gears up for what is looking to be like an historic bushfire season, my question to you is this:
Do you have a Bushfire Survival Plan?
All states have a Fire Service with available information regarding Survival Plans – and it is worth being prepared.
The best way to keep updated is to follow, subscribe and check your state Fire Service – they will usually have the most up-to-date information available.
You can also find out your area’s ABC radio frequency – ABC is the official emergency broadcaster in South Australia and many other states.
This may help if you don’t have access to your phone or internet.
What Is Being Done:
As of December, Australia has declared a ‘State of Emergency’ in New South Wales, granting powers to the NSW RFS Commissioner – meaning they can now allocate government resources and direct agencies to take immediate action regarding the crisis.
In New South Wales, where the country has been hit the hardest, there are over 2,000 firefighters working to gain control of the fires – along with aid from the US, Canada and New Zealand being sent in.
The Australian Defence Force has also been deployed, including Naval vessels, Airforce crafts and Army personnel to help with search-and-rescue, firefighting and clean-up efforts.
Multiple GoFundMe and Facebook Fundraiser pages have been set up to help ordinary people donate (Megastar P!nk even donated $500,000), including Celeste Barber’s fundraiser, which has raised over $16 million at the time of writing (05/01/2020).
Climate Change & The Bushfire Crisis:
Whether or not you believe in Climate Change or not, I think we can all agree that these bushfires aren’t normal. If you don’t believe in Climate Change, feel free to skip this section – but it is still something I want to touch on.
I thought I would simply share some of the key findings of the Climate Council’s briefing paper, titled ‘This is Not Normal‘ – and you can all do what you like with that information.
The catastrophic, unprecedented fire conditions currently affecting New South Wales and Queensland have been aggravated by climate change.
Bushfire risk was exacerbated by record breaking drought, very dry fuels and soils, and record breaking heat.
Bushfire conditions are now more dangerous than in the past.
The risks to people and property have increased and fire seasons have lengthened. It is becoming more dangerous to fight fires in Australia.
The fire season has lengthened so substantially that it has already reduced opportunities for fuel reduction burning.
This means it is harder to prepare for worsening conditions.
The costs of fighting fires are increasing.
Australia relies on resource sharing arrangements between countries and states and territories within Australia.
As seasons overlap and fires become more destructive, governments will be increasingly constrained in their ability to share resources ad the costs of tackling fires will increase.
The government must develop an urgent plan to:
(1) prepare Australian communities, health and emergency services for escalating fire danger; and
(2) rapidly phase out the burning of coal and gas which is driving more dangerous fires.
But most importantly:
Please stay safe. Have a plan. Talk to your loved ones about it. Keep your property clear of anything that can fuel a bushfire. Check the warnings and know when to leave, before it’s too late.
Nothing is more important than the lives of you and your family.
Sources For Above Table:
Some people turn our hearts to fire, and others turn them to ice.
But it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since I saw you last, your presence is like light. As soon as I see you, my problems melt away, burned by a fire that could never die.
There aren’t enough good words in the English language to describe how much I care about you.
But every day you walk this Earth, means I continue to walk it too.
‘Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.’
– Cormac McCarthy
When I get asked how I feel, I don’t have an answer. Because the feelings I feel are buried deep, to keep the agonizing screams at bay, that sometimes I forget there are people who don’t have to hold themselves together for fear of their chest splitting in two.
I struggle to maintain eye contact with the people that ask me this question. I’m scared that they might somehow see the darkness I hide. This facade has taken years to master, but I know it would only take one second to shatter it into a million pieces, breaking my ribs as it claws its way out.
My darkness is the witness to the worst of humanity. It is a creature, burned by ravaging fire, red-raw and unrecognizable. A creature so twisted and demented it should be dead. It is a creature in so much pain, it shrieks in agony, begging for a bullet to the head.
That’s what I am.
A creature, buried alive in a shallow grave – my surroundings infecting every burn and cut with a dirt that will never wash off. I’m held just below the surface, just deep enough to dampen my screams before they rip through the cold air.
But nobody ever hears my dark creature.
It stays buried, where only I can hear it. Every moment is agony, but we’re bound by silence, this darkness and I – like the unwritten rules of a library. And like a library, we wander through the shelves, pretending the book we want isn’t already in our hands, and that the ending we want isn’t already written.
where there’s fire
it will burn
and we all grow up
to learn that the prettiest things
are often those
that hurt us the most.
and some of us
learn the hard way
flaying our skin on
an open flame
and others never know –
they’re just told to stay away.
and that’s the difference
a simple, red hot burn
but it’s enough
to be all the difference
you and i are from different worlds.
you sat by the fire
watching the flames dance
and seeing beauty.
and there in the background,
i sat from a distance
and saw the danger instead.
our lives are shaped
around our burns
and some have more than others,
i wonder what it would be like
if my burns
weren’t all that mattered.
‘There was a lot to be said for a man’s capacity to be comfortable while alone.’
– John Connolly