The fires and announcing a new record

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We came down to Bridgetown today.

I am sure everyone in Australia is aware of the horrid bush fires that are raging in the South West of Western Australia.  They have affected me deeply.  The fires are raging in an area we know intimately.  We drive past those towns once a week on our way to or from Bridgetown.  We buy fish and chips at the local shops when trying to avoid road house food.  We know Harvey and Waroona and Cookenup and Yarloop which, sadly, is no more.

We know the roads that are closed and the roads bordering the emergency zones.  We drive on them regularly.  We know the beach communities that have been cut off and the bridge that has collapsed.

I have two cousins in Waroona.  One was told to leave his property as fire trucks arrived to defend his house.  Maus’ brother, Trevor, has a friend in Cookenup, a tiny town that has been under threat for days.

I don’t know why but knowing these towns and streets and highways and family brings it home, all the more.  How it could be anyone’s town and anyone’s house.

So today, when we had to drive to Bridgetown via Arthur River and Boyup Brook, we felt it was a very small price to pay.  The two arterial highways south of Perth are closed and have been since the fires started.  The only way south is to go south east and then directly west (a very long way around) which is what we and thousands of others did.  We were amazed how many surf boards and cars pulling boats and caravans we saw on the inland road, a sight normally reserved for coastal roads.  We were also amazed how smoothly the traffic flowed on a highway that is probably 10 times busier than normal.  People, somehow, seemed more reserved and more considerate.  The catastrophe, it appears, had humbled many a driver.

And what greeted us when we arrived?  Cucumbers, of course, and lots of them – 34, in fact.  The most ever for any one day.  I have no idea what we are going to do with them.  I am thinking of leaving them outside the Post Office.  People leave boxes of lemons outside the Post Office so why not cucumbers?  Cucumber distribution will be tomorrow’s challenge.

21 thoughts on “The fires and announcing a new record

  1. Gelnda. its sad to read of the incidences above. Hope it doesn’t somehow repeat again and you are right about it being poignant when you know the people and the place! somehow it touches us.

  2. A fire can be devastating to a single individual or family. Hard to imagine the suffering when the countryside is affected. And yes, the farm animals and wildlife are impacted as well. I hope your family and friends haven’t suffered badly. As for the cucumbers, yes, give them to the post office. I hope they don’t charge postage.

  3. I did wonder how close to Bridgetown the fires were. I feel so very sad for all those people who can’t simply “go home”.

  4. I read about the bushfires and wondered if you’d be affected. Having a link, whether you have friends in the area or have visited the places makes it seem very much more real than simply another news story. It looks horrific and seems terrifying that despite our modern equipment and knowledge, nature can be so overpowering that we can do little to stop it. Ha, a bit like cucumbers!

  5. Sorry to hear about this tragedy unfolding and it must be very disturbing to see Glenda. Safe travels and enjoy your bounty (the ones you didn’t give away) of cucumbers 🙂

  6. Hi Glen Hope you are feeling better. The fires down south brought our brush with fires 3 years ago all back and I sat and cried. I now have a thing about fire- no candles in this house. Love you sis Vickie

    • Hi Vick, Love you too. Remembering mum’s ordeal, I think we all have a right to have a thing about fires in our family. In any event, the fires were horrific. Thankfully, John’s house was saved.

    • We are further south Liz. Cucumbers are all gone. We had to take one of our bichons to the vet today and Maus handed them out to the staff and customers. You can do that in the country and people don’t think you are weird 🙂

  7. I have been wondering about how close you were to the fires . Good to know that you are safe. Cucumber juice. gazpacho, stir fried cucumber with chill, friend to a wedge of fetta. cucmber pickles? Just like last year’s tomatoes. Good idea to distribute them, and continue the local practice. There are gardening share food clubs in our area in Facebook. Anyone with anything to spare puts up a pic and a post.

    • What a great idea. I have resisted Facebook. I don’t really know what my objection is. We have rung around and have found some distribution depots (friends willing to hand out to their neighbours). I can only imagine what you must feel every time you hear of a fire. My sister, who lives in suburban Perth) had a close escape a few years back. Her house backs onto bush. Three houses in her street went but neighbours help save hers. And Bridgetown is very prone to fires – it is very hilly and there are tree plantations galore around here. Most years we have a doozy. Last year one ripped through a plantation in our locality. Luckily it was a couple ok K’s from us but they can bloody move. At one stage the one in Waroona fire was moving at 1.5 k’s an hour.

  8. I have been reading about the fires and wondering if it affected you. Such a horrifying and helpless feeling when your home or that of people you know is destroyed. I know what you mean about how it affects us more when we have a connection to the people or places. Of course we always feel for people dealing with tragedy but when it’s in or closer to your hometown, it just seems to hit harder.

    Good idea leaving the cucumbers at the post office. People do that here and things disappear pretty quickly.

    • Hi Diane. Every life is equally precious but I guess they register more the closer they are to you. The property, I understand. It is hard to miss something you never knew. I also feel for all the cattle and wild life that have lost their lives. Their deaths get glossed over in the reports. It was dairy country so there will be many dead cows.

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