Heat-wave in Australia

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hit3k » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:56 am UTC

Toeofdoom wrote:The temperatures in Melbourne yesterday were the hottest on record (46.4) meaning that the 50 was presumably somewhere in central Australia.

As for the fires I got a few messages from a friend saying that his entire town (Marysville) had burned down and they were all trapped there because the fires headed to the evacuation centre. Then my dad comes in this morning saying something like 29 people died in Marysville, not knowing about my friend. From what I can tell, everyone in Marysville is actually fine, but still trapped in the park there and the 25 people who died were in other places... I haven't heard from my friend this morning though :?


I heard about Marysville on the radio at 2am when I went to bed but they wouldnt confirm it; I hope your friend is safe and you hear from him soon. The fires devastated everywhere they went, I heard king lake didnt have any warning it just came out of nowhere. I hope if there were any xkcdians that were near the fires that they're safe.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hawknc » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:53 am UTC

I was a little worried about how close some of the fires were getting to the metropolitan area. We went for a drive yesterday (the car has A/C, the house doesn't) and we got maybe half an hour north before we had to turn back because of the smoke. What angers me most is that some of the fires that killed 35 people were deliberately lit. Who the hell does that?
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hit3k » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:14 am UTC

I posted about the arsonists in the confessions thread hoping they catch them and set them on fire. I saw on the abc website they had pictures of the fires. One of them was from the top of a hill in donvale and you could see the glow from the flames; it looked absolutely awful.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Amarantha » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:09 am UTC

I heard that no-one was killed in Marysville, but there's only one house still standing. We were just there like a month ago, on our honeymoon; it's hard to imagine it all being gone.

One of sheol's work-experience-student employees lives at Kinglake; he hasn't been able to get any news about her.

My Dad was out all night doing emergency management stuff and my Mum stayed awake all night because she was worried about embers igniting their house (in the Yarra Valley) and hadn't been able to get in touch with me because I was out. I called her this morning (hadn't even known the fires were near there until a colleague called and asked how they were) to tell here they're welcome to come here any time they need to.

We couldn't smell the smoke from our house this year, but it made a kind of armageddon sky yesterday by mixing with the clouds and the heat-haze.

We went to a friend's house last night for a BBQ, but our car wouldn't start (because of the heat), so her fiance came to pick us up. He was 45 mins late because a pine tree had fallen (because of the heat) across her road, on just the wrong side of her driveway, so he had to came the long way around to get us. Her power was out because the tree hit the lines, so we kept the beer in eskies and listened to music on people's iPhones. We ended up walking home; if we'd known about the tree we could have walked there in the first place. It was a lovely evening once the cool change came in.

Hopefully the cooler weather will help keep the burning slow; pity there's no rain expected.

*reads online bushfire updates*

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby InstinctSage » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:08 am UTC

Yeah, I'm watching the news... It's crazy. I've been completely disconnected from it down on the penninsula. It rained this morning and other than copping a sandblasting from the wind change yesterday arvo, it's been calm and clear.

Then you see all these towns you've been to and they're just rubble and smoke...

Edit: Death toll is 65 an counting... :(
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Probably Human » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:53 am UTC

Jeez, I think Australia's been flipped upside down. Up here in Darwin its only about 30 degrees and every where is just about flooded. Its nice to be the coolest city in Australia for once.
I just saw a news report about the bush fires. 65 dead and counting. Thats terrible, and scary. If anyone has friends or family near the fires, I hope they're all safe.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Amarantha » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:06 am UTC

I was looking at the update sites, and the DSE one said "Please don't look at this site unless you need to for your personal safety etc", which I thought was a damn good point. So I've stopped looking at any of them except for the wiki.

My brother is a firey in Sydney Metro; I wonder if he'll get called down here. I know South Australia has sent some.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Maseiken » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:17 am UTC

Made a new topic.
I don't know if it's necessary or not.

Honestly, I'm a little worried about Gelsamel, isn't Ballarat kind close to the fires?
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hawknc » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:18 am UTC

Man, Kinglake has been razed to the motherfuckin ground. We were contemplating buying a house up there someday. :( I hope nobody at work lost their homes or worse, I know a lot of people who live out past Campbellfield and Greensborough. Being able to see the horizon glowing at 10pm was not pleasant, I can only imagine what it would have been like to be caught in it. This story just broke my heart.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Maseiken » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:24 am UTC

What in gods name do you do when your wife and child are dead?
What the hell could you possibly do?
It's unimaginable.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hit3k » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:50 am UTC

Its all just heart breaking. I just realised I had some friends who had gone up to Marysville for the weekend and I just went onto facebook and they'd just posted that they were back and safe. They suspect some of the fires were relit and some were light deliberetly yesterday.
Also, I want to know what kind of sick mother fucker wakes up and sees that its going to be a hot day and thinks its a good idea to start a fire.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:22 am UTC

Maseiken wrote:Honestly, I'm a little worried about Gelsamel, isn't Ballarat kind close to the fires?


Ballarat is fine, it's way too urban to be bothered by bush fires.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hit3k » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:35 am UTC

Death toll has reached to 76 :(
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Dream » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:45 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:
Maseiken wrote:Honestly, I'm a little worried about Gelsamel, isn't Ballarat kind close to the fires?


Ballarat is fine, it's way too urban to be bothered by bush fires.


Today's Age listed fires around Ballarat as "controlled", whatever that means.

There are still 12 "out of control" according to ABC. It reckons that the vast majority of the damage and deaths have occurred in the biggest single blaze, just north of Melbourne.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby <nyssa> » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:09 am UTC

I've been following the bushfires, and feeling pretty useless, but also very detached because I live in Adelaide. I just found out that a very good friend of mine has been sent to Victoria to help fight the fires. Now I feel sick.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Toeofdoom » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:36 pm UTC

Hit3k wrote:
Toeofdoom wrote:The temperatures in Melbourne yesterday were the hottest on record (46.4) meaning that the 50 was presumably somewhere in central Australia.

As for the fires I got a few messages from a friend saying that his entire town (Marysville) had burned down and they were all trapped there because the fires headed to the evacuation centre. Then my dad comes in this morning saying something like 29 people died in Marysville, not knowing about my friend. From what I can tell, everyone in Marysville is actually fine, but still trapped in the park there and the 25 people who died were in other places... I haven't heard from my friend this morning though :?


I heard about Marysville on the radio at 2am when I went to bed but they wouldnt confirm it; I hope your friend is safe and you hear from him soon. The fires devastated everywhere they went, I heard king lake didnt have any warning it just came out of nowhere. I hope if there were any xkcdians that were near the fires that they're safe.


My family was visiting our grandparents but we had the radio on the whole way going on about all the fires which was very unsettling. I heard back from him and he and his family are fine but as you might guess their house is gone.

Death toll has also reached 84, apparently ash wednesday was 75. I also reccomend we permanently relocate the arsonists to areas of the desert where theres nothing to burn. (I'm not too fussy on whether thats here or in Antartica either) I suppose prison would be fine too, but a little less satisfying.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Simbera » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:42 pm UTC

^ My grandfather suggested that relocating them into the path of the fires they lit might be a good idea. More fitting, I guess.

Gelsamel: I think our whole area is reasonably fire-free anyway, so the urban-ness of Ballarat isn't what'll save you, it's the lack of fires. I'm in Ararat at the moment (about an hour west) and we're in the middle of a big circle of fire-free, according to Channel 9's map. We got our fair share in the Grampians a few years ago, I guess.

Also: apparently Bendigo has been burned pretty badly, and I'd figure it would be urban enough to survive. Maybe it's just the fringes.

Death toll is 96 last time I checked, and expected to rise as they're still counting.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Alpha Omicron » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:44 pm UTC

How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Luthen » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:07 pm UTC

Alpha Omicron wrote:How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.
My mum and I decided that an arsonist would definitely understand the results of setting a fire, and thus must have an intent to kill to do it, so they should all be charged with multiple murder charges. And arson. And property damage. And trespassing. And killing endangered animals. And anything else we can think of.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby |Erasmus| » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:19 pm UTC

Luthen wrote:
Alpha Omicron wrote:How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.
My mum and I decided that an arsonist would definitely understand the results of setting a fire, and thus must have an intent to kill to do it, so they should all be charged with multiple murder charges. And arson. And property damage. And trespassing. And killing endangered animals. And anything else we can think of.

They said on the news last night that it is intended to lay murder charges against any arsonists that are caught with regards to the current fires.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Maseiken » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:30 pm UTC

|Erasmus| wrote:
Luthen wrote:
Alpha Omicron wrote:How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.
My mum and I decided that an arsonist would definitely understand the results of setting a fire, and thus must have an intent to kill to do it, so they should all be charged with multiple murder charges. And arson. And property damage. And trespassing. And killing endangered animals. And anything else we can think of.

They said on the news last night that it is intended to lay murder charges against any arsonists that are caught with regards to the current fires.

It's kinda hard to catch them though, isn't it? I mean, isn't the evidence necessarily destroyed?
I dunno, that's for the forensics chaps to figure out.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Alpha Omicron » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:24 am UTC

Note also that arson (especially serial) is often the result of psychological disorder, so it therapy/rehabilitation may be more suitable than straight-up punishment if they're caught.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hit3k » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:09 am UTC

108 people and they're still counting :(
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Ouch.jars » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:30 am UTC

131 dead now...
Australia is very bushfire prone, and after a heat wave like that, a fire was almost inevitable, but still...
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Carnildo » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:37 am UTC

Maseiken wrote:It's kinda hard to catch them though, isn't it? I mean, isn't the evidence necessarily destroyed?


You'd be amazed at what survives a fire. Except in the hottest parts of a fire, it's rare for even paper and wood to be completely consumed, and the starting point of a fire is usually fairly cool. I expect they'll find tire tracks, footprints, traces of any accelerants used (and the containers they were in), and possibly the matchbox or cigarette lighter used to ignite the fire. There are also witnesses would remember a stranger or an unusual vehicle passing by at about the right time.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Dream » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:38 am UTC

Yeah, not every spark between Melbourne and Sydney burns down an entire town. Arsonists would likely have to make a big effort to ensure their fire doesn't just burn out before it gets a few feet, or that it's smoke plume is spotted and is extinguished by someone. I think they'd probably leave quite a bit in the way of evidence, though pinning that evidence on an individual might be very difficult.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hawknc » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:51 am UTC

Alpha Omicron wrote:How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.

Australia has no constitutional restrictions on cruel and unusual punishment. I mean, I agree with you, the justice system needs to do its thing, but the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" doesn't have the same significance here. The only related legislation I'm aware of is the ICCPR, and international human rights treaties are pretty much unenforceable.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Luthen » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:10 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:
Alpha Omicron wrote:How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.

Australia has no constitutional restrictions on cruel and unusual punishment. I mean, I agree with you, the justice system needs to do its thing, but the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" doesn't have the same significance here. The only related legislation I'm aware of is the ICCPR, and international human rights treaties are pretty much unenforceable.
Victoria has a Charter of Rights, and from the fluff about it, it has a section saying "no torture" so we probably can't burn the arsonists.

EDIT: The doc I linked to is only eight pages long and doesn't look very legal, so it's probably another brochure.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Hit3k » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:16 am UTC

Luthen wrote:
Hawknc wrote:
Alpha Omicron wrote:How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.

Australia has no constitutional restrictions on cruel and unusual punishment. I mean, I agree with you, the justice system needs to do its thing, but the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" doesn't have the same significance here. The only related legislation I'm aware of is the ICCPR, and international human rights treaties are pretty much unenforceable.
Victoria has a Charter of Rights, and from the fluff about it, it has a section saying "no torture" so we probably can't burn the arsonists.

EDIT: The doc I linked to is only eight pages long and doesn't look very legal, so it's probably another brochure.


Setting them on fire is too kind for those arseholes. Am I right in saying that eventually the nerves are all burnt and they cannot feel the pain? They need to suffer.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Maseiken » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:50 am UTC

I don't like the tone of that Bold+Italics there. Despicable as their crime is, I could never condone anything but due process, that's what makes us better than them, after all.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Dream » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:34 am UTC

The arsonists have innocent families who would suffer terribly were they to be cruelly punished in any way. So no burning, beating, torture or threats of prison rape. Even if you think the arsonists deserves it, their families don't.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Toeofdoom » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:18 am UTC

Alpha Omicron wrote:How about you charge the arsonists with arson, manslaughter, etc. and give them a trial for it?
Ever hear about "cruel and unusual punishment"? It's fucking serious business. No, it does not matter how much death or destruction they caused.


I suggested banishing them to a desert as they may obviously find it uncomfortable, but they can still contribute to society without getting a chance to start bushfires. No real reason why that's any worse than a prison and depending on what mental problems they have they can still get treatment. At least it's slightly more original than "burn them", too.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Grady » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:17 am UTC

The arsonists should be fired out of a high powered cannon into the sun, looney toons style. And yeah, they've caught at least two so far (a teenager who started fires near Bendigo, and another one). One of them is infact protected by a SWAT team in a police station due to fear of vigilante strikes.

Also the Southern 80 (world's longest river boat race) was cancelled because of the massive fires resulting in lack of paramedics, which doesn't really matter but it's our big tourist attraction here in Echuca (about 100,000 in and around echuca on the weekend, a town with a population of 14,000ish) so i'd imagine that hurt the town a bit.

These fires hurt and depress me, because it could've just as easily been Echuca up in flames and the pain the families who have died or lost everything have gone through is astoundingly awful. I wish everyone the best.

In unrelated to the fire news, my dad said a friend of his had a thermometer hanging in their sideless cattle shed, and during the extreme winds the temperature got to 54 degrees.

As for the people touting cruel and unusual punishment: If all my family were killed in a blaze I knew was started by an arsonist, i'd be out there with the violent vigilantes right now.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby ethraax » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:34 pm UTC

Luthen wrote:My mum and I decided that an arsonist would definitely understand the results of setting a fire, and thus must have an intent to kill to do it, so they should all be charged with multiple murder charges. And arson. And property damage. And trespassing. And killing endangered animals. And anything else we can think of.

Yes, an arsonist would likely know that their fires would kill. But that does not mean they had intent to kill when they set the fires. They might just like burning things, without considering the lives they endangered. It's irresponsible, but you're going too far by saying that they clearly set the fires for the purpose of, among others, killing. I can only see them being changed with serial manslaughter.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:51 pm UTC

Anyway, I don't see them destined for a particularly pleasant stay in prison if they're sentenced to jail. That might be brutal enough itself. (Though I'm American, so I don't know any stories about what Australian jail is like.)
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby |Erasmus| » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:33 pm UTC

ethraax wrote:
Luthen wrote:My mum and I decided that an arsonist would definitely understand the results of setting a fire, and thus must have an intent to kill to do it, so they should all be charged with multiple murder charges. And arson. And property damage. And trespassing. And killing endangered animals. And anything else we can think of.

Yes, an arsonist would likely know that their fires would kill. But that does not mean they had intent to kill when they set the fires. They might just like burning things, without considering the lives they endangered. It's irresponsible, but you're going too far by saying that they clearly set the fires for the purpose of, among others, killing. I can only see them being changed with serial manslaughter.

As I've already posted, it's been said by people with the authority that they intend to lay murder charges. It doesn't really matter whether you 'see' them doing it, it looks like they're going to. Can we not turn this into a debate on our legal system? Please.

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Amarantha » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:01 am UTC

Article including the actual charges and their maximum sentences:
http://www.theage.com.au/national/polic ... ml?page=-1
So no need for debate :)

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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby ninjacore » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:14 am UTC

That is some fucked up news. I didn't know any of this was going on till I got on the forums.

I hope the arsonists get what they deserve.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Dream » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:02 pm UTC

Amarantha wrote:Article including the actual charges and their maximum sentences:
http://www.theage.com.au/national/polic ... ml?page=-1
So no need for debate :)

Am I being incredibly cynical in questioning why Brumby's hi-vis jacket is squeaky clean, and he has chosen to remain wearing it in front of the cameras while others have not? I can't believe any politician doesn't think about the impression their image will make in the media. I'm on an eagle-like lookout for opportunists finding currency in this tragedy.
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Re: Heat-wave in Australia

Postby Toeofdoom » Tue Feb 10, 2009 4:33 pm UTC

Brumby has been the person most visibly going and visiting various towns and such that have been hit by the fires, so it doesn't seem incredibly suprising to me given that the fire danger in those areas has presumably passed, but there could be plenty of big vehicles around. I suppose maybe there was thought going into it, but I can't imagine a victorian premier that would act particularly differently.

How is it not going to be clean anyway? If there was dirt on there I'd be thinking it was probably applied intentionally.
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