Hellfire Saturday – Death toll now 108

And unfortunately it will rise as the rubble of houses is searched and cleared.   These are now the worst fires in our history – beyond Black Friday in 1939 and Ash Wednesday in 1983 and what is worse is that many of them seem to have been deliberately lit.

There are tales of absolute horror emerging – one man with skin hanging off him carrying his daughter into a relief station and saying that his wife and other child were dead.   Scenes of car crashes on roads and bodies trapped inside.  There are people who haven’t heard from loved ones since midday Saturday – dozens of them.   Hopefully some are simply out of contact but it does not bode well.

I worked the Ash Wednesday fires and as horrific as they were, they seem to pale compared to these.  On Ash Wednesday, as a policeman driving throught the fire areas and checking homes that were burnt for survivors, what struck me then was the fickleness of the fire, places left untouched were next to others razed to the ground.  But these ones were far more fierce, the towns that took the brunt just don’t seem to exist anymore.  Those who stayed have likely perished.

And though the weather is cooler the fires still burn and are likely to for the rest of the week because the days of 40 degree heat have sucked whatever moisture was left out of the ground.

Share a prayer for those who have lost their lives, their families and friends, the more than 750 families who have lost their homes, and finally the men and women of the Emergency Services who now have the grim task of finding and recovering the victims.

Once again, as in 1983, Radio Station 3AW gave fantastic coverage, and are still doing so.  For a gallery of the disaster visit here.

We have no tag name for this disaster yet – maybe Hellfire Saturday is appropriate.

Hellfire Saturday – Death toll now 108

And unfortunately it will rise as the rubble of houses is searched and cleared.   These are now the worst fires in our history – beyond Black Friday in 1939 and Ash Wednesday in 1983 and what is worse is that many of them seem to have been deliberately lit.

There are tales of absolute horror emerging – one man with skin hanging off him carrying his daughter into a relief station and saying that his wife and other child were dead.   Scenes of car crashes on roads and bodies trapped inside.  There are people who haven’t heard from loved ones since midday Saturday – dozens of them.   Hopefully some are simply out of contact but it does not bode well.

I worked the Ash Wednesday fires and as horrific as they were, they seem to pale compared to these.  On Ash Wednesday, as a policeman driving throught the fire areas and checking homes that were burnt for survivors, what struck me then was the fickleness of the fire, places left untouched were next to others razed to the ground.  But these ones were far more fierce, the towns that took the brunt just don’t seem to exist anymore.  Those who stayed have likely perished.

And though the weather is cooler the fires still burn and are likely to for the rest of the week because the days of 40 degree heat have sucked whatever moisture was left out of the ground.

Share a prayer for those who have lost their lives, their families and friends, the more than 750 families who have lost their homes, and finally the men and women of the Emergency Services who now have the grim task of finding and recovering the victims.

Once again, as in 1983, Radio Station 3AW gave fantastic coverage, and are still doing so.  For a gallery of the disaster visit here.

We have no tag name for this disaster yet – maybe Hellfire Saturday is appropriate.