I talked to my mother on Friday evening it was Saturday morning in Melbourne. She said the day was going to be hot again but nothing worse than the week of over 40C weather they'd just endured. Well, last Saturday turned into one of the most horrific days in the history of the state, as bush fires wiped out towns, destroyed property and killed people in their homes or cars as they tried to escape. To get some idea of the devastation take a look at the photos and short videos on The Age site. I have been constantly listening to the ABC (Australia’s national radio) to keep up with the news. These are the worst bush fires in history and over 166 people have died with more expected to succumb to their burns. The extreme heat and high winds combined to create a terrifying firestorm and fires that traveled at breakneck speed across tinder dry countryside. The devastation is unbelievable with some towns completely wiped off the map.
While most of the news is grim, there are moments of joy when people believed dead are discovered alive. Also encouraging is the outpouring of help from Australians all over the country, donating everything from food, clothing and money to blood. It is important to remember that those fighting the fires with the CFA (Country Fire Authority) are all volunteers who risk their lives to do their job. Aussie humour surfaces even at these most tragic moments as a man interviewed said, "yesterday I was worrying about how to pay my mortgage, well I don't have to worry about that today". His words make you realize just how important it is to appreciate life and loved ones and to forget those petty daily trifles that all too often consume us.