Feeling a little Vunerable right now.

Submitted: Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:17
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This post was going to ask if you have been out in the bush and seen a tree come down like this one which could quite easily have killed - but the CFA has just listed a fire in the Molesworth/dropmore area about 3km line of site and to windward of our place so starting to wonder if someone is out to get us so early in the new year.

But the tree - this top of a tree came down yesterday about 10 meters from us in an unusal manner.

It made little noise - none of the big crack we usually hear which gives a couple of seconds warning.
It sort of made a quite whosh - it would appear that the tree section was mostly rotten thru up high and so there was little force needed to start its fall.

It fell straight over and came down pretty well vertical and speared into the ground.

As you may be able to see from the photo it is still standing vertical held by the fact that a broken end branch penetrated so far into the ground on impact that it can't fall over despite being top heavy.
Normally the branches hit first and sort of lessen the impact.

Looks like it went straight in excess of 300mm to me, definately a death blow if you were between it and the ground.

Kinda makes you think a bit and stay away from overhanging trees when camping !




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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:24

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:24
Nasty!!
Seen a few fall over te years, none close enough to be any real threat.
I always have a look what's above any camp area I'm going to stop at any always try to stay away from the bigger trees.

Hope the fire does not get any closer, you at the block watching over it?
Stay safe mate.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:45

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:45
Hi John
Chickened out about 2 hours ago - wife says I'm getting older and wiser - she's right about the older part.

What got me worried about this tree was the complete lack of warning - no crashing through branches just woosh thud and this huge spear speared deep into the dirt.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:38

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:38
I think the wife is right.
Sad to lose property but it can always be rebuilt.

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Follow Up By: OutBack Wanderers - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 21:21

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 21:21
Hot Dang Robin, you found my cell phone, be right round to pick it up

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Reply By: Member Andys Adventures - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:41

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:41
Hi Robin,
Yes this does happen quite often as I mow the camp grounds at Lorella Springs, the closest has been 6ft from me. I now keep a close watch when under these white gum trees quite deadly, even worse when I'm here by myself.
Camping under any tree comes with some risk.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:50

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 19:50
Hi Andy

Don't know much about tree types but I think this is also a white gum which looks like it was part rotten.

6ft is definately white knuckle territory , bet you had an extra cappicinco that day.
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Follow Up By: Member Andys Adventures - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:05

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:05
By your photos it looks the same as we have up here. Strange part is that the dead limbs stay on the tree forever and the branches that look good are the ones that fall
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Reply By: mfewster - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:03

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:03
I can understand you feeling vulnerable. One came down next to us over the new year up at Nariel Creek. It put a sizeable dent in the roof of a car camped almost next to us. Considerably smaller than your example but it also came pointy end down and would have speared straight through the camper trailer top.
Generally I wont camp under trees with significant branches above but on this occasion I had broken my own rule. I particularly avoid River Red gums.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:14

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:14
we can be tempted to break our own rules can't we mferster.

On another thread I just posted - I felt a track had to much side slip , but was in a hurry damm !
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Reply By: Rockape - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:03

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:03
Robin,
I have had quite a few come down on top of me and beside me when giving trees a tickle up with a tree spear. Thank god for scrub canopies.

Yes, I have seen quite a few just drop branches especially if they are under stress with no water. Would that be the case in your area.

Dead trees are also bad news. When you are clearing they are known as widow makers. Give them a slight touch and the top breaks off and down it comes.

As for someone out to get you. No, Arsonists have a real mental problem and I don't think most even care who they destroy.

Hope the fire is controlled,
RA.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:48

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:48
There have been 6 40 degree days RA so maybe just heat stress , I can understand that but I'm not to sure of the new crop of ford ranger drivers.
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 06:20

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 06:20
Ha.Ha.
It has been horrible here on the central coast of Qld. This month our highest temp has been around 32c.

Hope it cools for everyone around Aussie and those fires stays away.

If I had the choice of being in a cyclone or a fire I would pick the cyclone.

If you have problems with the Patrol I know a good panel beater. LOL.

RA.




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Reply By: mikehzz - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:11

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:11
About 30 years ago I was driving my Torana in a storm and was just about to pass a big tree when I saw it start tumbling down. It came down right on top of me and the Torana ended up perched on the trunk with the wheels on each side. A lady in a house opposite saw the whole thing and was sure I was dead. She couldn't see me or the car as the tree was so big. I scrambled out of the follage without a scratch....no such luck for the car, it was toast.
Then in Omeo CP a few weeks back there was a loud crack at 2:30 in the morning and a massive branch off a big maple tree crashed down about 20 metres away. Fair dinkum it missed a tent by about a metre. I don't camp under trees, somebody is giving me hints. :-)
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:52

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:52
That would have given you a serious fright by the sound of it Mike - what annoyed me was the lack of a big crack - I'm sure mother nature doesn't care but I like to think we get a fair go with at least a warning noise - not that that would help much if your asleep in a tent.
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Reply By: Notso - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:49

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 20:49
Lived in the middle of a Red Gum forest as a kid. Hot still days and you'd hear a crack like a high powered rifle then the crash as a huge branch hit the ground.

The old man was a sleeper cutter and always reckoned the red gum was one of the worst for dropping branches.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:54

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:54
I imagine that a redgum branch would carry a decent whack as it came down Notso !
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Reply By: Member - Keith C (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:06

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:06
G,day Robin, glad to hear you're all ok. dangerous buggers, thats why they're called widow makers. regards Keith
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 09:03

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 09:03
Good name Keith - over the years I have collected quite a few interesting tree photos with things like still suspended broken branches waiting to drop , might be worth putting them together as a display.
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Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:27

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 21:27
Happens all the time in the River Red Gum forests along the Murray, especially in the hot weather, day & night. Luckily we have never been under one, but it still frightens the bejesus out of you!

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 09:15

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 09:15
From the replies it looks like Redgums are over represented in the drop branch competition Shaker
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Reply By: Member - VickiW - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 22:24

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 22:24
Yep I get paranoid camping near trees, especially river red gums and coastal banksias (I think I remember reading they were also a problem).

But then, I have been known to have a sleepless night camped along the Nullabor worried that either the storm would blow the tent over the cliffs or the cliff would collapse - that might have been a bit extreme :)

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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:08

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:08
I can understand how camping near cliffs on nullabor could make for sleepless nights Vicki - camped on edge myself for fun of it and glad I don't sleep walk.
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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 23:06

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 23:06
Was camping south of Pidgeon House near Batemans Bay a few years ago. There were a few others around and we were trying to get off by ourselves. Found a nice spot and neighbours saw us go there but it was too close to a rather sus looking tree, so we found another site nearby.

A couple of hours after we set up there was this almighty crack and groan and half that tree came down - a big bough over half a metre thick. Neighbours came rushing over to see if we were ok or dead, which is nice on two accounts - we were ok and they had been vigilant enough and concerned enough to check us out.

Just a little reminder from Mother Nature to not take chances.

Cheers
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 09:11

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 09:11
Wow half a meter would make one think for sure Frank - makes ours look like a baby.

Currently there are adds running on victorian TV showing a guy coming home in shock early after a near miss at work.

When you think about it our experiences are just as real and need to be taken seriously - but then over christmas we camped near a tree , not in its direct drop zone but well within danger if half the tree came down like yours.
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Reply By: Ross M - Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 23:28

Thursday, Jan 10, 2013 at 23:28
What I want to know is:
How is the bloke who was using the phone.
Besides his obvious need for a change of undies, is he ok?
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:18

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:18
He was either killed and buried in one efficent stroke or else he saw the light early and shot thru.

I will keep the phone till he shows up !
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Reply By: Off-track - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 01:08

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 01:08
Funny how impressionable young minds are; when under a gum my mind almost always casts me back to the scene in Seven Little Australians where the one of the oldest sisters is crushed and killed by a fallen gum branch.
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:13

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:13
Sounds like a typical australian theme Off-Track , but can't say I have heard of that film - I suppose that means its a classic thats bypassed me.
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Reply By: Echucan Bob - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:01

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 11:01
At least it would have been quick (provided it hit your head and didn't just impale your abdomen, pinning you to the ground while you slowly bled out).

I guess someone will blame the greenies - if they hadn't stopped us cutting down all the trees this would never have happened!
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:10

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:10
Quick is good - don't like the sight of blood - espically mine.
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Reply By: Drew - Karratha - Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:14

Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 12:14
We had one come down a couple of years back while we were marroning at the end of a track. I thought someone had blown up my car the noise was so loud. We decided to go somewhere else and halfway back along the track was a tree right across it with the trunk diameter higher than the bonnet on the Landcruiser, and thick Jarrah forrest all around us. We had a Leatherman and a snatch strap, and managed over the next few hours to clear a path through the forrest to get around it....

Another one was when a big storm came through the SW of WA in July (I think). We were 4wding near Dwellingup and the trees started whipping around - we turned back, but it was too late with trees down everywhere. There ended up being 6 cars with a couple of saws and axes, and a few snatch straps clearing trees every 50 - 100 meters apart for the 5k's back to Dwellingup..... Good fun!!
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:17

Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 11:17
A couple of real marathon's there Drew - we have had a big bush block for more than 20 years now and it educated me very early on to never approach the area without a chainsaw and extra fuel.
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