I know the cynics will continue to argue there’s no conclusive proof of climate change. But given much of Europe is freezing while we in Melbourne recorded the hottest day ever on record — 46.4 C according to the Bureau of Meteorology (that’s 115.5 F) — which follows on from the longest hot spell in over a hundred years — it’s hard not to think that the climate is changing, and that this may become the trend for the future. Penny Wong seems to think so.
Just before 5pm, the car thermometer was claiming 47.5 C. Meanwhile the radio was telling us of big problems with fires around the state.
At dinner last night with friends in Chirnside Park, we could see smoke coming up from above the houses, somewhere a few kilometres away. It’s not an area I’m overly familiar with and my sense of direction was shot. I couldn’t quite figure out where it was coming from. Maybe northeast, but I’m really not sure.
That evening we got back in the car to come home and turned on the radio. It was a shock to hear of more than a dozen confirmed deaths in the fires, with fears for scores more. The toll is now at least 35.
I haven’t been in touch with them all, but I think all the people I know living in regional areas are okay.
But to know there that hundreds have lost their homes — or even worse, loved ones — and that thousands are out there continuing to fight the fires… makes us city folk feel a bit helpless. I know I’m not alone when I say our thoughts are with you.
- ABC: Bushfire emergency coverage
- BBC: Australia fires rage with 35 dead
- Donate to Red Cross — they’re providing relief centres for those evacuated
- Country Fire Authority — they do take donations, but unfortunately it’s not as straightforward as just paying by credit card online
UPDATE I’ve removed the links to the CFA web site. They are experiencing heavy loads, and have asked that people not use it unless it is essential to do so.
Google have created a map showing the latest fire situation information from the CFA. It’s doubly useful because it shows it visually, and also helps take the load off the CFA and DSE web sites.