Vic fires

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 18:53
ThreadID: 65812 Views:2927 Replies:11 FollowUps:25
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Have just sat here for the past two and half hours watching the devestation in my beautiful state - a friends niece has lost her house near Kinglake - hoping that was all, when they announced that the whole town of Marysville has gone - every shop in the main street - the golf club is gone, people were gathering on the oval - we have friends living there - they have lost their house, the farm and buildings - trying to save Crystal Journey - a family home they have turned into a business - can't contact anyone who has heard from them at all today - I was shocked.
What can we do - its mind blowing to think of losing everything you own - and in some cases a family member.
They are saying some of these fires are deliberately lit - how can anyone have a mind that sick.
The fireys, police, Salvos, SES, and anyone in their helping these people deserve a medal.
Lets all just send messages out to the universe for the fires to be put out - and safe journey to those who have lost their lives -
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Reply By: Best Off Road - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:03

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:03

65 dead so far, and I fear more to come.

Something has to be done. The weather forecasts predicted this kind of fire activity and yet there were still people in known areas of severe danger. We have enough historical data to predict outcomes.

Surely the Government can enact law to forcibly evacuate people so that loss of life can be limited. Houses can be rebuilt but lives can't.

So many lives lost that should not have happened. It's been troubling me all day. Such a waste.



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Follow Up By: Matt Watson - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:10

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:10
Its hard, and very debatable, to put laws in place to protect people from their own stupidity. I get the feeling that a lot of people, men mostly, feel that its their duty and that they have the skills to protect their house and property. I've read a number of stories already today of guys who sent their family away but stayed behind themselves, one guy to try to get his boat. While I understand this desire, these people need to understand they danger they are putting the CFA/SES in, if its know people are in an area the CFA/SES will work a lot harder and put themselves in more danger than if its just property.
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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:44

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:44

Debateable? Maybe.

Have we not had seatbelt laws for nearly 40 years?

Your point about a boat is poignant. Anyone stupid enough to risk their life for a boat is a fool. Have they not heard of insurance?

We all have a right to make our own decisions, but some of those that got incinerated were children. They had no choice.

It is so very sad that people have died when they shouldn't have.



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Follow Up By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 09:21

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 09:21
Jim I have been fighting fires for 30 years and from what i see here is that there wasnt enough notice to get out, and being a wooded area trees drop across the roads and visibility is poor so most had no choice at all but to stay.
Have you ever been at a severe fire front?
Anyone who hasnt doesnt know what its like, or how they will react, it wont be as you think you would.
I have seen big tough blokes go to water, even jump off the truck and try running away, a deadly move.
All the resouces and all the laws will never work under conditions like this.

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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 10:31

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 10:31

What I am saying is that it 2009. We have technology. we have aerial surveilance to spot fires, we have the Weather Bureau to predict wind shifts and temperatures.

We know in advance (often 24+ hours) that a town will possibly/probably be under threat. At that point everyone evacuates, no option.

The death toll from this is likely to exceed 200. Whatever we are currently doing isn't working. In 2009 I find that totally unacceptable.



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Follow Up By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 21:56

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 21:56
All good in theory Jim, but in the real world it happens too fast sometimes.
If "IF" they could get word to many, huge task on its own, where do you think they would have accumilated in kinglake, ???
In the town somewhere, and quess what would have happened.
As far as i can see the fire charged so fast and changed direction it was so unpredictable, NOTHING can be done to stop these fires, or get to everyone in its path.
Maybe around 200 deceased,which is absolutely tragic, but many thousands are alive.
Sorry mate cant agree with you, so many people in so many places and so little time, mother nature will always win!

Cheers Pesty
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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 06:32

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 06:32

From Sky News

"Meanwhile, Premier John Brumby has announced a royal commission to examine the state's emergency response and possibly review the longstanding 'stay and defend or leave early' policy aimed at mitigating the risk of fatalities from bushfires"

That is good news. We simply cannot accept that nothing can be done do save lives.



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Follow Up By: Member - Pesty (SA) - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 23:28

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 23:28
All good on the face of it mate, but on the same TV an interview with a kinglake resident, he said that there was NO warning , not even any smoke, NOTHING, and it was all on them in minutes, no royal commission is going to help another day like that.

I dont say that something shouldnt be looked at, in fact the best idea i have heard yet and the most practical, reqires no outside help, is a fireproof safety room/cellar at every home rebuilt, and im sure there will be thousands who will put one in after this as well.
Good opening for you mate, start manufacturing safety rooms delivered on site.

Cheers Pesty
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Reply By: Hairs & Fysh (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:06

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:06
To those effected,
I pray for you.

AnswerID: 348195

Follow Up By: Member - Crazy Dog (QLD) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:29

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:29
My wife and I also and to the wonderful people who are doing their utmost to save the day god bless you all...

Lance & Marg Cairns FNQ
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Reply By: Member - Uncle (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:20

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:20
I visited Kinglake about 9 years ago to do some fishing for a weekend. Jodie and I have just been watching the news for the last hour, it is just so so sad to see what has happened there today. Our thoughts are with all involved.
AnswerID: 348196

Reply By: Member - Josh (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:42

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:42
Yes we are waiting to find out what is happening. We are supposed to stay with friends in Vic on Tues when we return from Tassie but found out they had to evacuate. They still have their house we have been told. Their parents farm is gone. A mate in Warragul told me of a few people we know who have lost their homes. Hard to believe this once amazing area is now ash.
We're not sure what we will find when we get back. It is shocking that some of these fires were lit. If caught they should be taken up to these areas and made to apologise to the people and explain their actions, Then publicly flogged.
Just pray for the people still fighting these fires. All fire fighters should be payed and given medals for what they have done.

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Reply By: nowimnumberone - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:48

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:48
what a terrible couple of days weve had in vic
were in bendigo where the fires are out now but to see what they done in such a short time was frightning
1 minute it was about 5 ks from home and with in half an hour it was in the padock next door.
we packed all our important stuff in the car ready to leave then the padock went up we couldnt belive how hot and quick the fire burt thats the scary part we left not knowing if we would loose our house but luckily it stopped at our back fence.
this evening we went for a drive just around the corner not even 500 metres and were shocked at the loss of houses.
where the fires were is suburbs that you wouldnt think would burn so quick thers no real bush just blocks of padocks and open land.most of the bush areas around us didnt go up it seemed to follow the houses.
so far there has only been one death around the corner but it could have been a lot worse theres a lot of older people live around us.
the cfa need medals for the way they handled this fire we thought theres no way there going to keep this under control with the wind.
i couldnt even have a drink for my birthday today in case we had to leave again ill try tommorow lol.
our thoughts are with every one else who is going through fires and thanks for the calls to see how we were
also this fire was delibratly lit lots of people would love to get there hands on thoose responsible.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:48

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:48
Good to see you and the family are OK Jim.

A friend of mine lost his home at King Lake yesterday, but he and his family are OK.

I see they are reporting the the former Channel 9 news reader Brian Naylor who lived on his farm at King Lake West is unaccounted for and his wife has now been confirmed as killed.
Does not look good for Brian given those circumstances.

Such a sad, sad day for so many.
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 22:04

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 22:04
Jim, was hoping you guys were OK. We are in NSW at the moment but have been horrified to see the news. Have been in touch where we know people to let them know where, what how.


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Reply By: Member - Roger B (VIC) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:52

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 19:52
Sadly, I have just,at 7pm this evening, been informed that one of our local VVAA Sub Branch members, his wife and Mother in Law all perished in the fires in the Kinglake area. The whole situation is a terrible tragedy. So sad.

Roger B..................
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Follow Up By: stefan & 12 times Dakar winner - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:38

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:38
I speak for all here, so sad for you all.
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Reply By: TassieD - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:29

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:29
Our hearts go out to everyone affected over there and hope the rest of the fire threat eases.
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Reply By: Best Off Road - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:37

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 20:37
The death count is now at 76 and will rise.

When some loony shot 29 people at Port Arthur we introduced strict (and warranted) gun laws. The whole country was aghast at the loss of life.

The vast majority of this is avoidable.

"Defending" properties is madness. Get them out by whatever means. If that involves handcuffs and being chucked in the back of a van, so be it.

After all, we force people to wear seatbelts for their own safety.

And keep in mind, some of those who have died are children, who had no choice.

Didn't we learn anythig from Ash Wednesday 1983?

So, so sad. It didn't need to happen.


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Follow Up By: Axel [ the real one ] - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:04

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:04
I grieve like the rest of sane people at the loss of life that has happened today in the fires , but Jumbo , some of your reasoning is way way out there with the fairies ,,,, "handcuffs and being chucked in the back of a van ,so be it"
this is Australia 2009 , not Germany 1939.

If anything is to be learnt from this tragedy it will be that nature cannot be tamed and the cycle of drought / fire / flood is an integral part of the Australian landscape.

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Follow Up By: Matt Watson - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:22

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:22
Pulling people out in handcuffs just isn't feasable, there is too many people, and if you tried, there would be a certain % of people who would refuse to go on principle. You would just end up putting police in needless danger.

If money is going to be put into this (and no doubt it will be done, I'm surprised Rudd hasn't offered a couple of billion yet), I'd much rather see it go into making sure the cfa trucks are all up to scratch, alert systems, public information campaigns, slabs of beer for all the volunteers, etc.

Its sad, but it seems we need to learn this Australian fire lesson every 15 or 20 years.
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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:37

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:37

Now is not the time for personal vendettas.

Let it go. Petty point scoring pales into insignificance.

People have died needlessly. Please respect that.


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Follow Up By: The Geriatric Gypsies - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:41

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 21:41
goodday jim
you have to realise that some never had time to escape the fire went thru so quick they didnt necessarily stay to protect just never had time some had only 2/3 minutes notice
daughters friends timed it as they were getting ready to go fire travelled about 25ks in 20 mins you dont have time to react as most times you are panicked trying to think what to do and where to go son in law sent daughter to my mother in laws fortunately they are some of the lucky 1s fire went around but a different wind change would have taken there farm as well

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Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 22:00

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 22:00

I understand that, but a lot of areas were under threat from last Thursday with a very clear weather warning.

For me, if I was in an area with the slightest threat, I'd just pack up and shoot through a day or two before.



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Follow Up By: Axel [ the real one ] - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 22:13

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 22:13
Jumbo ,nothing personal at all , just remember that your perfect vision which is nought but hindsight is worth nothing. " the slightest threat ,I,d pack up and shoot through a day or two before " COWARD , leave it for someone else to battle. , nothing personal .,,
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Follow Up By: Member - Mfewster(SA) - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 23:44

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 23:44
It's difficult isn't it. Try to legislate for all possibilities and a government is told they are creating a "Nanny State". Don't legislate? A government of any persuasion is on a hiding to nothing when this sort of event strikes.
Back in the 1930's, in the timber cutting areas, it was common for buildings to have a fire bunker. Something like a bomb shelter dug into the ground with a flat tin roof that people could retreat into. If we can legislate cyclone protection standards for tropical areas post Tracey, maybe something like this should be in the building code as well.
FollowupID: 616486

Follow Up By: Matt Watson - Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 23:56

Sunday, Feb 08, 2009 at 23:56
Not a bad idea, I would love for cellars to become standard in Australia, would be damn handy things, and if every house had them, the cost of building them should come down.

FollowupID: 616488

Follow Up By: Nargun51 - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 00:38

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 00:38
Actually, the current system in Victoria comes out of the Ash Wednesday fires

The CFA policy which they tell all living in bush fire areas is that if you don't feel you are capable of defending your properly prepared house you get out early. You either stay and be prepared to defend or go early (and make sure you have good insurance cover)

Use this is the basis of your fire plan

The suggestion at community meetings is go to a shopping centre at 8 am and stay there all day if you are not willing to stay and defend.

The worst thing is not to make a decision, but attempt leave at the last moment. The worst place to be in a fire is in the open; next worst is in a car. A house, properly prepared and defended, is the safest.

Forced evacuations are probably as bad; forcing people out of the safety of their own homes and into cars when the fire is on their doorsteps is unsafe, all those cars of the trying to leave along narrow smoke filled roads... we saw on Saturday what happens

Put them in handcuffs? Who? The police? They should be there to control traffic, not throw people into the back of a divvie van. A divvie van full of people entering into a fire zone

All these ideas are great if you have time to plan or the fire is a day away. Different matter if the fire is 10 minutes away

Read some of the literature that was printed in the aftermath of Ash Wednesday by the CFA, CSIRO and others and some of the statistics...people in a properly defended and prepared house don't die, those in the open do

Maybe bushfire safety should be taught in schools along with water safety

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Follow Up By: get outmore - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 01:07

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 01:07
you guys are away with the fairrys

as far as loss of life and severe injury goes who gives a flying frick how the fire started? there is ALWAYS going to be a bolt of lightning, tossed ciggarette, dipcrap with a box of matches and the list goes on

this aint the problem that can be solved

fires dont appear from no where - they have an ignition source and direction of travel

the big problem has been what has been done with this info

is the stay or go motto failing people? is there not good enough info to get people to evacuate? are evacuation procedures inaequte/non existant?

stop caring way the fire started thats never going to change and cant be controlled never has never will

start caring WHY pople were left sitting in front of a fire burning for many hours or even days and THEN your care factor may be pointed in the right direction

FollowupID: 616493

Follow Up By: Best Off Road - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 06:50

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 06:50
I heard a womman on the news telling of her father, a man with 20 years CFA experience.

He had the property fully set up to defend. As the fire approached he realised he had no hope. The conditions were far worse than he had ever encountered. He bailed out with his 78 yo Mum and drove to dam and got in. They lived.

Under some conditions a house may be defendable, but with 80 km/h winds blowing through the fire the intense heat arives well before the flames.

I saw on the news footage of houses bursting into flames before the fire got to them. The radiant heat was like a blow torch.

Something has to be learned from this. The advice as early as Wednesday last week was that the conditions were going to be worse than Ash Wednesday. Sadly it has proven to be true.

The only solution I see is for the experts to assess the danger areas and order an evacuation well in advance. Most of these fires were burning well before Saturday and predicting their path had been done.

In 2009 for over 100 people to die in fires is not acceptable. This must never happen again.


FollowupID: 616495

Reply By: cycadcenter - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 03:59

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 03:59
Hi Folks,

I'm an Aussie living in San Diego and went though two lots of fires in the past 5 years, there were a lot of lessons learned from the first one where over 30 people were killed an 2200 homes lost and the second fire in 2007 when no one lost their lives and 1750 homes were burned.

After the first fire many fingers were pointed and in some cases rightly so, the lack of command control between different agencies, not allowing aircraft to fly after sunset etc.

But probably the most significant change was the placement of emergency evacuation proceedures and the implementation of of the reverse emergency call system, even just prior to the last fire every phone number in the area including mobiles received and evacuation warning message to prepare to evacuate due to the POSSIBILITY of fires occuring due to the hot weather conditions.

Then when the fires happened (due to lightning) we got further warnings, and eventually an evacuation order.

In total over one million people were evacuated from the San Diego area.

God Bless everyone down in Victoria and also spare a thought for my friend up in North Qld.

Just my opinion but I thought Rudds response of $10m was pretty pathetic

San Diego
AnswerID: 348265

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 07:41

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 07:41
(Tried unsucessfully to upload this last night , when more relevant)

Hi Julie
We have just returned from our place north of Yea via back tracks.
Its pretty bad, and news is set to get worse.
Had to use both chain saw and winch to get out, because even where the fires aren't a strong wind went through and many trees are down.
Heavy constant smoke and quite strong winds as of 5pm as we left We graded round the house loaded the trailer had headed for melbourne.
As long as wind doesn't change like yesterday our place will survive - however we have spent some time assiting our brother in law who brought Mountain lodge, a 25 room
complex 200m north of Marysville town centre and have been turning it into a drug re-hab centre.
It lost and we are unable to locate 1 resident, although the evacuation was pretty confused.
Other friends of ours at Buxton left as fire got to next ridge over and got to refuge centre at Alexandra for last night.
Almost certain there house is gone to, just left from trying to console them.
Pretty bad all round , couple of years ago it was High country, this time its our heartland.
We drove back down Hume freeway from Seymour and there are lots of burnt houses for a 10km strech of the road.

Can't do much now except pray.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 13:50

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 13:50
Rob - by now hope you know that all yours are safe - we have heard this morning that our three friends in Marysville are OK - they have managed to save Crystal Journey - but lost their own house.
Now I hear the Prom is closed - what next??Jules
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 13:56

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 13:56
Unfortunately Julie its a long way from being finished.

Its still dry, its still windy, no rain and the fires are still burning across the state.

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 15:03

Monday, Feb 09, 2009 at 15:03
Hi Guys

We have just heard on radio urgent threat messages issued for Molesworth to Alexandra rd area , in the valley below our place but still 5km away.

The fire front is now visible at our place according to local CFA friend.

We are in melbourne - I made it in and out yesterday , I am very tempted but I don't think I will go back,
Other vehicle with us yesterday staked a tyre on all the fallen debris and this could be enough to get you killed.
But sitting here listening to news its like having someone twisting a knife slowly in your guts.

Our friends we were with last night have lost there house to- but no people.

Good to see some of your news is better now Julie.


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Reply By: Member -Dodger - Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 09:05

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2009 at 09:05
I have posted this reply on several sites and will do so on this site
because I really feel for those effected.

My thoughts and sympathy go out to all those that have endured the fires in Victoria and hope that the assistance as promised reaches you post haste.
Our condolences to all those who have lost loved ones.

I am glad that the armed forces are helping as I do know that they are of great assistance to the people involved/effected.

Our Son is a CFA fire fighter and is involved in fighting these fires
and although it is a worry for us we are proud that he is assisting
in this natural or unnatural disaster.

I also Feel for those in Queensland who have been flooded and hope
your assistance is forthright also.

At the moment our country is seeing/feeling the extremes of nature.
Flooding in the north.
Severe Drought in NSW & Vic.
Massive Fires in both NSW and Victoria.
But I know that we Australians will overcome.

Blessings to you all.

I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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