Archivos de diario de noviembre 2019

10 de noviembre de 2019

The Fires of the Lower Manning Valley

I have been contacted by fellow iNaturalists regarding the ongoing fire threat here in the Lower Manning Valley, N.S.W. And I thank you very much for your concern.

I thought perhaps it best to post this thereby allowing me to reference the one post rather than repeating more emails. And, oddly enough, there was something calming about putting this timeline together as if partitioning out the events helped make a bit more sense of it. Though as I type this, the deafening roar of a chopper hovering over the river gathering up water nonetheless has become more disconcerting than I would have credited my normally disciplined mind should register.

so here is what I have come to comprehend.

The Hillville fire began just 6k down the next road over from Bull Hill. We saw the smoke rising an hour before any alert went out. In the absence of info and observing what seemed a huge fire obscuring fully half a third of sky, I estimated where it may have originated and decide to triangulate it and perhaps calculate its progress. I guessed the next road west of us, Hillville Rd., would be best for viewing. In fact, I drove right into it. I was on scene and filmed the moment when it shot across the road into the state forest about 3 minutes before the fire service arrived. By then, although reported online as just a hay bale fire of 1 ha size, in fact it was 150 ha at that point. If the Forster fire had not exploded at the same time, resources may have been available to stop it ...

7 NOV Day 1 winds were westerly the first 24 hrs so the fire only crept north 1 km towards us but reached 1019 ha in just 4 hrs ending with 6150 ha. Fire crests Breakneck Lookout (and Fire Tower), the high point in the State Forest, and begins its run toward the coast.

8 Nov Day 2 saw FIERCE ungodly SW winds would double the fire size in just 12 hrs. The fire races down to the Pacific Coast Hwy, jumps the highway and rapidly engulfs Rainbow Flat. The Rural Fire Service HQ there burns to the ground. Faster than television reporting can keep up, the fire reaches the outskirts of Old Bar. I ring mum who is staying with cousin Jenni. She has just been witnessing tall flames a few streets over after knocks on the door from individuals rousing everyone to evacuate. Nonetheless, they opt to remain overnight as the beach is a short distance away. Morning brings more knocks and the sight of flames at the end of the street. They evacuate to the Surf Club. Along with 400 others, they snack on sandwiches in the car park ... the beach is right there as back up ... literally as the way forward toward the road out to the highway is closed. Meanwhile on the western front, a sickly coffee-brown smoke dominates the lower half of the sky. In stark contrast, volcano shaped pyro cumulus clouds, billowing high above, shimmer silver as they catch light off the setting sun. It is now 6pm and a brilliant red bullet emerges to fly directly overhead. Shortly after, the chase plane for the massive tanker passes so low one has an urge to wave at the pilot. They circle the fire a half dozen times. We never saw a drop ... we now know they were lining up runs over Old Bar. By 7pm, an unfavourable windshift forces our hand and we evacuate my reluctant aunt to Cundletown on the northern bank of the river. We have family here. My cousin Julian holds on another hour to secure the property until blinding choking smoke is too much to take. On leaving, he snaps a pic of the flames cresting the ridge 3 km to the south. Shortly after mobile phone service becomes wholly unreliable. Local council Mayor pronounces the situation dire ... he is not wrong.

9 Nov Day 3 winds become southerly bringing the 18km fire front north to the banks of the Manning and within 2.5 km of Bull Hill and 3 km of Tinonee. Bucket's Way, the road to hwy is now closed leaving just escape routes east to Gloucester and north to Wingham. It is a surreal landscape as if the entire valley was under a golden dome ... every surface, even the interior of one's home appears amber as if you had on tinted glasses. Choking smoke and fly ash came and went. Spot fires cropped up anywhere and everywhere. A fist size flaming ember landed on the lawn of a home in Upper Landsdowne 5 km from the fire front - that of the Dingo Tops Fire (18,000 ha) ... one of three "out-of-control" fires on the day surrounding Taree. The Hillville fire now just shy of 17,000 ha. To the NE, the Harrington/Crowdy Bay fire (officially Bill's Crossing) is now impacting John's River and Dunbogan ... it reaches 12,000 ha in size.

10 Nov Day 4. woke to a cool mtn breeze at sunrise. A light westerly permitted me to go back out to property and check on the horse and retrieve some documents I left behind. A walk up the hill on our neighbors property reveals new smoke well west of anything the fresh maps indicated ... it was obviously out of control and moving quickly supported by a freshening se. wind. I later learn this branch of the fire took off toward Burrell Creek (due west of Bull Hill) forcing a closure of Bucket's Way in that direction by evening. Only the north to Wingham now remains open. I checked in at Tinonee on my way back. The shop was open so I stopped to get a call out (phone service had been down for 48 hrs). While talking to my mother, I see smoke rising 200 meters away on the other side of the oval/tennis courts. A spot fire that takes the rest of the day to control ... gets to within 50 meters of the Tinonee fire station. This another and another spot fire to the south of Bull Hill close the gap to either Tinonee property (Mum's and my aunt Bevs) ... now 850 meters.

The se. wind shift permits Old Bar to breathe easier. The road closure there is lifted for necessary travel around 8pm. However, the Harrington fire, now north to John's River (site of one local fatality) rages with renewed vigour forcing the closure of the coastal hwy to the north. Police checkpoints go up in Cundletown and elsewhere ... only necessary travel permitted.

Now we wait for TUE - DAY 6 ... 37 deg and high winds may have us reliving this. A "Catastrophic Fire Alert" has been issued for the day. And now the forecast for rainfall places us in the swath along the east coast which will see little or no rain in the month of November. ... teeing up a summer like no other.



Publicado el noviembre 10, 2019 08:01 MAÑANA por vicfazio3 vicfazio3 | 1 observación | 7 comentarios | Deja un comentario