Bushfires in Victoria claim 189

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Bushfires in Victoria claim 189

Postby Maseiken » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:13 am UTC

So far...
http://www.theage.com.au/
Much of the front page is taken up with this, so won't bother with a specific story.
It's times like this I thank god I live in the city.

EDIT: I also feel completely and utterly useless. I mean, I may be very intellectual and all that, but even if I were to get my BA, and continue on and ascend to the greatest heights of Academia. I wouldn't save a single person's life, and then there's all these people who do nothing BUT save lives, and pull them up when they're way, way down.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 66

Postby Sharlos » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:44 am UTC

Up to 76 now. Pretty bad.

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 66

Postby Dream » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:16 am UTC

Maseiken wrote:I also feel completely and utterly useless.


I feel useless too. But that's normal in the face of such awesome natural destruction. It isn't about your academic path. I bet doctors and firefighters feel useless watching home after home burn too.

These fires happen every year, and as the long drought continues, they will only get more common. Is there a reserve firefighting organisation you could join to help in the coming years? If not in the big city, maybe you have family connections in rural areas that have one?
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 66

Postby Maseiken » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:31 am UTC

Just saw an update, Death toll has hit 84.

Even if I knew how, I wouldn't dare join any kind of reserve thingamajigg. It's one of those things I can observe, and admire, but cannot possibly relate to.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:56 am UTC

This number's going to keep rising.

I think its time for the Victorian government to seriously consider changing its policies regarding forced evacuations. Expecting homeowners to come to rational decisions about what is and isn't dangerous to them when its their house on the line, something that they're heavily emotionally invested in, isn't sound imo.

I hope some of the victims died of smoke inhalation, better than burning alive.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Dream » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:29 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:I think its time for the Victorian government to seriously consider changing its policies regarding forced evacuations.


I'd tend to agree, but we should wait for a decent analysis of where and how these people died. I read about firemen telling about being astonished at how fast the fires could move, and these were trained professionals. Maybe people are perfectly rational about the situation, but were overtaken by events. On the other hand, I can't see how a forced evacuation program could cause much harm if it were overdone just to be on the safe side. It is probably a good idea regardless of the motivation of those who died.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Daojia » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:59 pm UTC

I guess the best response to this, as it is for most things, is education concerning how to react when these disasters hit. I've heard several times now that the very worst thing you can do is change your mind. The people defending their well-protected farm with a mindset to stay with their convictions are in less danger than those who change their minds at the 11th hour and try to outrun the approaching front. I was horrified when I found out about the gutted cars outstripped while travelling at highway speeds. And to agree with an earlier post, I feel completely useless too. A couple of my friends have been affected by this and all I can do is wait by a damn phone.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Maseiken » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:54 pm UTC

Daojia wrote:I guess the best response to this, as it is for most things, is education concerning how to react when these disasters hit. I've heard several times now that the very worst thing you can do is change your mind. The people defending their well-protected farm with a mindset to stay with their convictions are in less danger than those who change their minds at the 11th hour and try to outrun the approaching front. I was horrified when I found out about the gutted cars outstripped while travelling at highway speeds.
This, absolutely, the worst thing you can possibly do is Panic and try to run when it's already on your doorstep.
Daojia wrote:And to agree with an earlier post, I feel completely useless too. A couple of my friends have been affected by this and all I can do is wait by a damn phone.

I can't imagine what that must feel like.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby wst » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:41 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:This number's going to keep rising.
Well, it's not going to come down :(

Good luck to your friends, Daojia.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:46 pm UTC

If you include the number of Heat Wave related deaths + the fire deaths... it just gets ridiculous.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby zealo » Sun Feb 08, 2009 5:16 pm UTC

Daojia wrote:I was horrified when I found out about the gutted cars outstripped while travelling at highway speeds.

now i'm going to have nightmares, thanks for that.

events like this (or the ones in california and greece last year) are why i am glad they do control burns here.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Sharlos » Sun Feb 08, 2009 6:44 pm UTC

We do control burns here, however many australian trees have evolved to be highly flammable, spreading their seeds after a bushfire. Unless you plan on burning down all the trees in australia, there isn't much you can do to prevent the fires, they come each year. The only difference is that they are a lot worse this time round.

No amount of control burning would prevent fires like this with the levels of heat we've had recently

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby luketheduke » Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:00 pm UTC

Wow, that's awful. :(

And to think that arsonists are adding to it. :evil:

Maseiken wrote:EDIT: I also feel completely and utterly useless.


I, for myself, am a member of the local volunteer fire brigade. (In a small backwater Bavarian village where the worst thing that tends to happen is flooding) If something like that exists where you live?
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby The Reaper » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:22 pm UTC

up to 108 now. Man, that sucks. I hope it goes out fairly soon.
holy shit dude.
The towns of Kinglake and Marysville have been wiped out and around the state more people have died than in any previous natural catastrophe — one so lethal that authorities are treating it like a major terrorist attack.
Lightning caused these fires? Holy crap.

Maybe look into controlled burning, I hear it works pretty well for the Florida Everglades.
Shouldn't houses have clearing areas around them if this is a common thing?

I suppose that at least you're not blaming your president.


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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Sharlos » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:27 pm UTC

At least half of them are deliberately lit I beleive (may not be half, but some of them definately were). One arsonist relit a fire that firefighters had already extinguished.

I'm definately for tougher penalties for arsons.

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby The Reaper » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:31 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:At least half of them are deliberately lit I beleive (may not be half, but some of them definately were). One arsonist relit a fire that firefighters had already extinguished.

I'm definately for tougher penalties for arsons.

Wow, what the fuck is wrong with people these days. "Gee, I've got a bright idea, these fires are killing lots of people, lets light some more and watch people panic, yay!"

Can we feed arsonists to the flames they show so much devotion to?

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby luketheduke » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:46 pm UTC

Somebody should tell those people, insofar as they are not clinical pyromaniacs, that volunteering to help extinguish the fires is way cooler, way more dangerous, and way more adventurous than lighting them up.

And you can brag about it, too.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby ACU-LP » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:17 pm UTC

As said before, there are currently 108 known dead. The worrying thing is they suspect that number could easily rise to 170.
750 homes have been destroyed.
Thing is though, if they ever catch/find out who they arsonists were, the arsonists are going to have to be put into protection until they're convicted and put in prison. There a lot of people out there who've lost their wives/husbands, children, pets, homes, and generally their entire lives. And its unimaginable the sadness and anger they feel.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Luthen » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:03 pm UTC

zealo wrote:
Daojia wrote:I was horrified when I found out about the gutted cars outstripped while travelling at highway speeds.
now i'm going to have nightmares, thanks for that.
I think those car deaths were severely made more likely due to the smoke.

I feel horrible too, because aside from listening to the radio all day, my weekend was fairly average. The greatest connections to the fires I have is that my scout troop as a camp near Narre Warren which probably has burnt down, but no one would've been there; and that my aunt and grandparents live up on the NSW central coast just north of the Pete's Ridge fire.

The problem with forced evacuations is that there aren't enough firefighters to cover all the houses and when a house is not under direct attack from the fire, in theory a family can protect it. While it is only embers attacking the house, people should be able to prevent them becoming big fires.

As well as better education, there need to be harsher building codes in bushfire prone areas. Too many houses aren't built with fires in mind and easily burn. Most bushfire things are fairly simple, closed eaves, cleared area around the house, a proper solid walled bathroom to use as a "panic room".
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Hawknc » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:55 pm UTC

There definitely needs to be much stricter guidelines regarding buildings in bushfire-prone areas. It's not dissimilar to earthquake zones, IMO, and needs to be regulated as such. I think a lot if the next few weeks is going to involve finger pointing by the media and reactive legislation by the state government; hopefully some positive changes come of it. It's unfortunate that some of those properties were doomed no matter how well prepared they were. The entire state was basically a tinderbox after this drought and backburning can only do so much.

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Paranoid__Android » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:15 am UTC

The 'fireball' that some people were describing sounded terrifying.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby LuNatic » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:58 am UTC

Confirmed deaths are at 128, and analysts are predicting 200+ before this is over. Entire communities are being wiped out in a matter of hours - it's horrifying :(
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Maseiken » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:48 am UTC

So it looks like we're reviewing the "Stay or run" policy, with a mind towards a "Run the hell away" policy.
I'm not sure what I think about this, but if it's what the experts want, I'm sure not going to argue.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Luthen » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:56 am UTC

From what I've heard though, the "stay or run" policy is fine as long as people don't stay and run. And that they only stay if they're reading to fight.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby r1chard » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:32 am UTC

Quite a few years ago I had a friend who is a volunteer CFA brigade captain (down in Baxter, Victoria) and he reckoned he had a few firebugs in his brigade. Better having them on the team than out just lighting fires, he said. They got their little fixes with the controlled burns (yes, our country brigades do those too).

But then there's some people who just light fires. We can never hope to understand why.


For all those who feel helpless there are ways you can help. There's plenty of groups organising money funds, or collections of goods, or temporary housing, etc. Or you can give blood.


And IMHO there's no sense in speculating about policies. Let the just-announced Royal Commission look at the facts once things have settled down. Hell, I overheard some guys on the train yesterday blaming the mandatory safety glass installed in houses since 1989.


My dad was a CFA volunteer. My father-in-law was too. I'm seriously thinking about it myself now.

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Jahoclave » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:32 am UTC

And of course, as is typical, this jackass decided to use this catastrophe to proselytize his religion at people.

He said these bushfires have come as a result of the incendiary abortion laws which decimate life in the womb. Besides providing material assistance, CTFM will commence a seven day prayer and fasting campaign for the nation of Australia tomorrow Wednesday the 11th February.

Well, I guess, on the bright side, the gays aren't being blamed. I never knew an abortion to start a fire, but perhaps he will provide an explanation later. Oh right, he saw it in a dream.

Is it okay to add these jackasses to the list of people we'll be throwing into the fire for douchebaggery?

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Hawknc » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:32 am UTC

Catch the Fire Ministries are, by the releases they put usually put out, nationalist bigots who wouldn't look twice at bushfire affected areas if they were largely Muslim populated. Most of the country ignores them, thankfully.

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Amarantha » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:01 am UTC

r1chard wrote:Quite a few years ago I had a friend who is a volunteer CFA brigade captain (down in Baxter, Victoria) and he reckoned he had a few firebugs in his brigade. Better having them on the team than out just lighting fires, he said. They got their little fixes with the controlled burns (yes, our country brigades do those too).
Ya, my Dad's a Fire Prevention Officer (or was - now he's apparently called Emergency Management or similar), and they joke about FPOs being secret pyros, but it's only partly a joke.

(PS, nice to see you on the train the the other day :) I wondered if you were still posting here; didn't think to ask.)

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby r1chard » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:40 pm UTC

Jahoclave wrote:And of course, as is typical, this jackass decided to use this catastrophe to proselytize his religion at people.

Yes, and to think that we almost had a parishioner of that church as our Prime Minister!



@Amarantha yes, it was, though too brief :)

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Luthen » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:14 pm UTC

r1chard wrote:
Jahoclave wrote:And of course, as is typical, this jackass decided to use this catastrophe to proselytize his religion at people.
Yes, and to think that we almost had a parishioner of that church as our Prime Minister!
Wait, Peter Costello is a member? I did not know that. And he's my representative.

On topic: toll is up to 181.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby r1chard » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

Luthen wrote:Wait, Peter Costello is a member? I did not know that.
Whups, sorry, I overstated it. He's just really good friends with them. Well, he WAS!

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Luthen » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:08 pm UTC

r1chard wrote:
Luthen wrote:Wait, Peter Costello is a member? I did not know that.
Whups, sorry, I overstated it. He's just really good friends with them. Well, he WAS!
I was worried for a moment there. He had always seemed so reasonable. Good to know he is.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Maseiken » Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:00 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:And of course, as is typical, this jackass decided to use this catastrophe to proselytize his religion at people.

He said these bushfires have come as a result of the incendiary abortion laws which decimate life in the womb. Besides providing material assistance, CTFM will commence a seven day prayer and fasting campaign for the nation of Australia tomorrow Wednesday the 11th February.

Well, I guess, on the bright side, the gays aren't being blamed. I never knew an abortion to start a fire, but perhaps he will provide an explanation later. Oh right, he saw it in a dream.

Is it okay to add these jackasses to the list of people we'll be throwing into the fire for douchebaggery?

Unfortunate usage there. I dunno, maybe it's deliberate.
Intriguing since these are, in themselves, inflammatory remarks.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby EmptySet » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:14 am UTC

Jahoclave wrote:Well, I guess, on the bright side, the gays aren't being blamed.


Not even the flaming ones?

(I'm sorry, I can never resist a bad pun.)

luketheduke wrote:Somebody should tell those people, insofar as they are not clinical pyromaniacs, that volunteering to help extinguish the fires is way cooler, way more dangerous, and way more adventurous than lighting them up.

And you can brag about it, too.


Someone already did.



On a more serious note, I know several people who had fires literally just outside their back fence, and there were fire a few hundred metres from my own house. So, yeah, not very pleasant. I hope they catch the idiots who keep lighting these things.

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby LuNatic » Wed Feb 11, 2009 7:58 am UTC

Cynical Idealist wrote:
Velict wrote:Good Jehova, there are cheesegraters on the blagotube!

This is, for some reason, one of the funniest things I've read today.

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Daojia » Sun Feb 15, 2009 1:45 am UTC

wst wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:This number's going to keep rising.
Well, it's not going to come down :(

Good luck to your friends, Daojia.


Many thanks, In fact I recently heard from a friend near the fire complex, turns out she'll do just fine and her area is safe, so no more worrying for me.

Apparently police have found and charged a guy not only for lighting one of the lethal fires, but also for posessing child pornography. Here's hoping they protect his identity; given the local mood in the Gippsland area if his name is released then I doubt he'll make it to a court room.
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 84

Postby Gelsamel » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:33 am UTC

Daojia wrote:
wst wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:This number's going to keep rising.
Well, it's not going to come down :(

Good luck to your friends, Daojia.


Many thanks, In fact I recently heard from a friend near the fire complex, turns out she'll do just fine and her area is safe, so no more worrying for me.

Apparently police have found and charged a guy not only for lighting one of the lethal fires, but also for posessing child pornography. Here's hoping they protect his identity; given the local mood in the Gippsland area if his name is released then I doubt he'll make it to a court room.


Lethal Fires and CP? Geez, if that guy's name gets out there will probably be collateral damage from people trying to protect him...
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby pineapple_pete » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:56 am UTC

Hey everyone, long time lurker, first time poster here.

I was up at Yea during the week, I took up my panel van full to the roof with donated food on Wednesday night, and slept the evening at the relief camp up there. Any normal person intellectually knows that bushfire is bad, and its something to stop, but after meeting people affected and hearing stories, you really understand it on a totally different level.

Driving home in the daylight (we drove through darkness to get there) you see how burnt so much of the land is. We had permission to drive through the police roadblocks in order to speed up the delivery, but ended up taking the longer route.. Probably for the best, driving through towns completely wiped out would have been more than a little disturbing.

It already seems like its been going for so long, but there's so much more work to be done, all in good time i guess..

Petey xox

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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Maseiken » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:02 am UTC

Anyone in melbourne noticed for the past few days?
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Re: Bushfires in Victoria claim 135

Postby Luthen » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:05 am UTC

Yeah, I'm conflicted because woodsmoke is associated with good memories in my mind so everytime I go out I'm like "I remember :) ... wait that's bushfire smoke :("

Also it made sunrise really pretty.
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