Blue Mountains bush fires.
Our next door neighbours moved to Eltham from the inner suburbs two years ago, and I called out to M. over the fence today to ask if they had a fire plan. He looked blank and said "Not really". I said to him "It’s a lot different living in Eltham to where you were before. You really need to sit down with H. and discuss what you are going to do about the kids if you two are at work and a fire comes through". He said "the school will have a plan", and I replied "In Eltham?? There is only ONE road in and out of Eltham and if there is a bad fire on a bad day, nobody will be able to go anywhere, so you need to think about planning to leave the kids somewhere out of Eltham". Then Ken came out and put his two bobs worth in, telling M. he needs to clear all the branches and leaves off his roof and spouting (they’ve got a flat roof like us). The poor guy was starting to look a bit worried by then! so I said "Don’t worry too much – nothing might happen at all, but at least if you have a plan, you won’t panic if a fire happens and you know what you need to do in advance".
When Ken was working, I used to wonder what the hell I would do if I was at home on my own, and a fire came through here. We had a rough plan, but nothing written down or communicated to other people. This year with us both at home we can work out something more detailed. Ken's main concern is his birds. If we knew days in advance what might happen, we could possibly catch all the birds up, put them in suitable cages or boxes, and take them somewhere safe, but we don't know anyone in the inner suburbs that has a big enough aviary to take Ken's birds as well as their own. Ken says he would probably have to open the aviary doors and let them fend for themselves. We would grab the cats and put them in their carry cage, and I have a briefcase already packed with insurance, land title, rates notice, car registrations, medical scripts and other important papers that you would need in the days and months if you lost your home to fire.
I am planning to store my entire linen collection in a secure storage facility in the inner suburbs. I've looked at them online, and it wouldn't cost the earth to do it, as I would only need a relatively small space, not needing to store furniture and big stuff - just boxes. And I said to Ken depending on the amount of space we get, we could store other stuff there too, like family photos and other irreplaceable memorabilia.
God, my heart aches for all those people in the Blue Mountains, as well the birds and animals. There will be a huge loss of wildlife, as well as stock (I don't know if there is any farmland up there; it is mostly timber country). I could kill those kids they've caught who started some of the fires.