On Australian weather, fires, etc. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 131 Old 12-15-2019, 04:28 AM Thread Starter
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On Australian weather, fires, etc.

Just want to say, stay safe everyone, with the fires still burning in NSW & the stinker of the week we're in for over virtually the whole of Oz.... Please, if you're in a remotely bushy area, if you don't yet have a good fire plan & preps done already, please do it NOW! Dont put it off any longer.

Thinking of ppl still in the midst, in nsw - my cous has lost her house, but thankfully they all safe. The whole rainforest area surrounding them has burned. Rainforests are not likely to ever recover in this climate... Saw a mssg on FB from Easycare Downunder to say their warehouse is only couple kms from one front so orders will be delayed.... Just waiting for the proverbial excrement to hit the turbine down here.

Funny, after going thru the 2009 fires down here with a narrow escape for our place & very few losses among the people I know, I thought I handled it all & got over it pretty well... until a couple of weeks ago when we had our first hot one for the season, strong, hot north winds, sky was brown with dust blowing down from the dessicated north(so couldn't tell if smoke without going out to smell). All came back to me. I was just a tad anxious, sitting at home all day, ready to bundle animals in the car & get out at the drop of a hat, listening to CFA scanner all day.... I'm seriously not looking forward to this season.

And ive still gotta work out where to house chickens if we need to evacuate - my eldest breeds rare breeds & wants to save at least a few - cos sadly no way we could catch & take many, what with dogs & snakes & precious possessions... Oh & people, to fit in car too...

What I really need...
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post #2 of 131 Old 12-15-2019, 09:22 AM
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You stay safe too!

We are in south west WA and the smoke from Yanchep, Collie, the one in Cowaramup and the one near Yallingup in the past couple of days alone has been horrific. We couldn't run our air con today until it was already 32 degrees inside the (insulated!!!!) house because the smoke was so bad. At least we didn't have the smoke yesterday (which hit 40) because I had to put the AC on at 8am so the greyhound would manage until my brother got up, because I was out all morning. My mare had to be moved from her yard to a paddock (not ideal, she's meant to be on yard rest) because that was the only way she was going to have any shade.

We are thankfully right on the coast so if all else fails and there's nowhere to go we will take our dogs and our horses to the beach and get in the water. Our fire plan is pretty much just "gtfo as soon as we're under a watch and act" though. The house is insured, the house's contents are insured, the car is insured (comprehensive), all our important documentation is in the cloud so can be accessed from anywhere we can sign into the relevant accounts. Photos, too. And we have friends and family far enough away that if we have to evacuate we can get to safety.

We figure, if we lose everything we own in a bushfire, it'll be a temporary state of affairs and we have people who can house us and our animals until it's sorted. Things can be replaced. People and animals cannot. So we will not risk our lives to stay and defend, because ultimately our things are not more important than our or our animals' lives. And with that decision made, there's no point in sticking about until we have to evacuate, it's much safer to leave earlier when the roads are relatively clear.

We live in town, but very close to a tract of bushland that does not get burned by DPAW. Our horses are on farmland about 15km out of town, and are more likely to be threatened than our house is - but both load and travel reliably. Still, knowing we have time to get them loaded will mean they load faster (as we all know, being stressed about a time limit stresses the horses and makes it harder to get them to do what you want!)

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post #3 of 131 Old 12-15-2019, 12:59 PM
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Oh my

I saw a news clip on The Weather Channel about your fires and I wondered how many of you might be affected.

Prayers and good wishes to all if you.

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post #4 of 131 Old 12-15-2019, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Oh Blue, I didn't realise where you be. I somehow missed the collie fires happening tho I heard about the others over there. Seems half of Aus is burning & this only the start of Summer...

You mention bushland your DPAW hasn't burned(fuel reduction burns), but some of the worst fires in NSW started on land which had very recently been burned... the country is just dessicated.... & too dry in many areas to have been able to do any burns even over winter - there have been precious few burns done(compared to what needed) over here this year & none at all in my (heavy bush)area, as they just haven't had safe opportunities.

Has it also been extra dry over your side of the sand pit? Afraid on that front I've been a bit preoccupied about more local conditions...

...& yet our esteemed PM has rushed off to NZ because of the volcano...
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post #5 of 131 Old 12-15-2019, 05:19 PM
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Everyone stay safe! Agree, the lives of the people and animals are much more important than the possessions.

The beach sounds like an excellent (if temporary) place to shelter from fires...but may have to get far out in the water. Will the horse go out in the waves?
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post #6 of 131 Old 12-15-2019, 09:29 PM
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Yes we have had record low rainfall this year too :( thankfully we have really high groundwater so we still had a decent growing season, so there's hay/feed around and it's not $50 for a small square. Hay prices are holding fairly steady.

The one near Yallingup started in extremely tough (hilly) terrain with high fuel load, so it could have been really bad, but Dunsborough VBFB and surrounding brigades had it out in under an hour. Great work from our country's true heroes. Collie wasn't looking good for a while, it was headed straight for the Collie township, but winds changed direction and blew it back on itself overnight so it was downgraded to an Advice which is absolutely fantastic. We got Australia's biggest water bomber flown over from Sydney to fight that one! A 737 with retardant tanks, beautiful beast she is, incredible to watch in action. But I was surprised we got her when NSW looked so bad!

We are on a big, sheltered bay, so there usually aren't very many/any big waves, no riptides, relatively few sharks, too far south for crocs... so the horses do go into the water. Mum's pony doesn't like water much despite 9 years of our best efforts lmao but my big girl will wade right in. Horses are usually pretty good about going into water when they're threatened by fire though, if they have the option. I think they instinctively know that they're safer in the water. Our beaches are also fairly wide and sandy so there's a nice buffer between horses and flames even if we can't get them into the water. Ultimately, if we end up in an emergency situation and can't flee, it's either there or the oval of a local school (manicured green grass is safer than dry farmland after all).

Planning for catastrophic fires is a fact of life in Australia.

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post #7 of 131 Old 12-15-2019, 10:18 PM
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Glad to hear the fires are under control @blue eyed pony . Hope everyone Down Under is safe!

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post #8 of 131 Old 12-16-2019, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Planning for catastrophic fires is a fact of life in Australia.
Yeah, bushfires have always been a threat, but that threat HAS changed & become far bigger, as the world warms, Aus is still logged, cleared, intensively farmed, mined, dried out... It's scary, talking to firies, about how much it's changed just in the last few years even. A decade ago there were far more opportunities for controlled burns for eg.

But thinking back, I can't believe how unrealistic, unprepared we all were in 2009. I left my husband on the roof of our (insured) house with a garden hose in his hand on that afternoon. Thankfully the wind changed when the fire was half a km away...
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post #9 of 131 Old 12-18-2019, 08:29 PM
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Loosie, hope you are tracking ok.

Is there someone willing to help house your birds temporarily, so you don't have to decide what to take and what to leave.

Animal Rescue Collective on facebook are a great group if you haven't already tapped into them. Lots of help from all over the country.
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post #10 of 131 Old 12-18-2019, 09:09 PM
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Here in Florida we debate whether to evacuate or not every time a hurricane threatens to hit. At least hurricanes you can plan for. Wildfires are harder to predict. Don't forget those poor people in the Bahamas who are still struggling for basic necessities. Or those in California who's homes have burned. Climate change is dangerous for all.

I have more horses then i can evacuate. So I have to plan on 2 trips and a very early head start. The problem with evacuating is that you don't want to go from a bad location to a worse one. Storms change track and so do fires. Roads get clogged with traffic. It's a nightmare.

I remember watching the tv before Hurricane Frances and debating "do we leave or not? What do we do with the animals? what about the ducks? (You can hardly take ducks with you)... Ducks did just fine. Even survived the tornado we got. The house lost the roof, severe water damage. Fences were gone. The house needed to be completely gutted- new floors, new cabinets, new everything. Insurance paid in full. And someone donated new fencing. The school even donated some money for repairs for those with the worst damage.

If in doubt, leave early. My concern would be what happens if the fire shifts and you are sleeping?
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