Record temperatures have come to the state of Victoria. The capital city of Melbourne was 46 ºC = 114.8 ºF today 02/07/09
Avolon airport 20miles SW of Melbourne recorded 47.6 ºC = 117.68 ºF
Wildfires are scattered throughout the state. SEE LINKS
This is from the CFA public site, a snippet about the Delburn fire: "Firefighting crews will continue to work on the Delburn Complex fires over night with approximately 400 CFA and DSE firefighters, 127 DSE and 113 CFA trucks, 21 bulldozers and 14 aircraft working on asset protection, direct attack and construction of control lines. The fire is now 6290 hectares.
Property losses are still being assessed, with the loss of 28 houses and 42 sheds confirmed at this stage. Further assessment will continue tomorrow. "
6290 hectares is about 15,500 acres. Mostly bushland (forest if you like) has been burnt. The ICC are confident, but it could always go pear-shaped.
I don't know which of your fire services actually send people here, but we do get them from the west coast. I've not worked directly with any Yanks, though I've spoken with them at an ICC and a staging area, but I have worked with Canucks and Kiwis.
I think that bringing in people from other countries benefits us all - work together and learn together. The numbers sent show that we're not providing manpower, we're providing each other with different expertise, different experience. It's about education.
There has been resistance to and complaints about this sort of thing though. The union that represents the mainly structural career firefighters in this State have been very vocal in their complaints. They seemed to think that the money being spent on bringing in overseas teams should be spent on overtime for off duty career firefighters here. As I said above, this isn't about manpower, it's about education - with around 50,000 volunteer FF's in the State, we're not short of people.
Thanks Luke, you made my day... I went for the detailed weather forecast for tomorrow. Forecast for Mt Dandenong:
39C - RH 9% - Wind NNW 65 gusting 105 - Forest Fire Dange Index 153
The simple description for tomorrow is "oh shit". An FDI of 156? That's off the scale! We can hope for the best, hope for a non-event on the fire scale. I'm not holding my breath. I'm not on the Strike Team list for tomorrow, but who knows what will happen.
And that is likely to happen again. The old. The infirm. The very young. The first two are sad, the last is tragic. The idiots that insist on going for their daily run in ridiculous temperatures. This I put into the 'involuntary suicide' category.
Oh, an update from my last post. I'm in the crew if a Pumper Strike Team is called out. As it may well be. We've been told that with the expected intensity of fires tomorrow, that if any look like getting away then we are all on asset protection only - we are not risking firefighter lives on protecting trees, or in attempting to fight the unfightable if it comes to that! Air support unlikely, the weather is expected to keep the choppers on the ground.
Looks like it is going to turn to shite shortly - many strike teams have been responded from across a vast area in the last 20 minutes and are being deployed to staging areas near the fire in Bunyip State Park which is the fire that Luke put the maps up for earlier. Latest report is that there will be no more aerial water bombing due to the wind intensity.
Unfortunately all hell has broken loose with multiple large fires out of control. One fire has spread to 1200 acres less than 40 minutes after starting, over 30 strike teams are forming up or are already enroute to various fires.