What did you get for Christmas? Santa bought us a bushfire.
I think I hinted to you in my last post that our Christmas day wasn’t as full of fun as we’d have liked. In fact it was all bloody unpleasant and we really didn’t have a Christmas day at all – and neither did scores of local South Australian Country Fire Service firefighting volunteers.
The weather in Adelaide and surrounds was vile on the day – 38C and horribly windy – and everybody who lives in an area prone to fires was a little edgy. At 11 am we had a knock on the door from a very nice man, to whom we will be forever grateful, who told us that the paddock next to our house was on fire. He had been driving up the road and saw it start from a fallen power line and had the presence of mind to call the CFS immediately and then come to us to let us know.
I still shudder to think what would have happened if he hadn’t done that. We have no air-conditioning in our home and cool the house by keeping all the blinds down on hot days so, without being at all dramatic, the first we would have known about it would have been when the flames were licking at the eaves.
We had no time to do anything but throw the dogs in the car and get out, calling our next door neighbour on the way as he keeps a fire pump and tank handy on a ute in summer for just such eventuality. This wonderful man was first on the scene and kept the fire from heading to our house until the CFS bombers arrived. Before the paddock was doused the flames came within five metres of our house fence – closer than I ever want to be again.
And what can I say about the wonderful CFS volunteers – they not only saved our bacon, but that of three of our immediate neighbours as the flames jumped two roads and, ultimately, saved our small town. The fire was being blown towards the town and between our farm and town there is a blue gum forest – if the fire had got into that it would have been utterly disastrous. 18 appliances and seven aircraft fought and contained this relatively small, but potentially calamitous fire for hours, returning again in the evening for another two hours.
It was a few hours before we could get back into our house and some time after that before power was restored so, in the end, Christmas was a complete fizzer. The whole experience left me feeling quite wobbly for a few days. The dread I felt as I watched the bombers, not knowing if we would have a home at the end of the day, was devastating. If I felt like this after a very close call I can only imagine what the homeless victims of the South Australian fires at Pinery and in Western Australia’s Yarloop region must be going through – my heart goes out to them.
It’s no surprise that we are huge fans of the South Australian Country Fire Service, now more than ever. This is a volunteer service and these dedicated folk put their lives on the line and on hold every time they get on a truck – if you get the chance to support them in any way I’d urge you to do just that.
Here in the Adelaide Hills, The East Torrens Group is holding a fundraiser at the end of the month which promises to be a lot of fun. It is called the Looooong White Table Dinner.
Where Uraidla Primary School, Kidney St, Uraidla
When Saturday 30 January 2016 from 6.pm
Cost Donation, if you wish.
This is an outdoors “bring everything” dinner, rather like a picnic with tables. Wear white to glow in the dark. Come alone or bring a group. We welcome everyone. Bring dinner and drinks, crockery, cutlery, table settings, lantern. (but please NO breakable glasses – we’re on the school oval). Join a long table dinner with a WHITE theme. GREAT band. GREAT dancing in the dark, GREAT silent auctions GREAT reason to celebrate. Kids very welcome. They may wish to bring a torch.
Contact Claire Bossley 0400441641 or email@example.com for bookings or more information.