Sunday, 20 October 2013

Time to Prepare.

(Not My Photo) Newcastle Airport.
Approxx 40minutes from my house.

Thursday the 17th of October started out like any other normal, hot Australia Spring day. A humid, hot, 33 Degrees, not unlikely for our crazy Aussie weather. The Thursday before it got up to about 38 Degrees, however, the winds were not nearly as strong the week before.
On the way home from Uni and work Benn and I were driving home hearing about a fire in the suburb next to our home. There was another fire in the same area about 4 weeks before hand, so were not expecting (and hoping) for it to be as close as we thought. We were wrong.

Upon driving up to the street to my suburb (it's a one way in, one way out kind of place), it was blocked by fire engines and police cars. No way through. Covered in black smoke. Now I am all for waiting things out and staying safe, but my babies were on the other end of that street and there was no way were were staying to watch them possibly burn along with our house. Benn saw a gap and we went. Driving through black smoke and authorities telling us to stop, was not something I'd like to do again, but arriving at home with tears in my eyes seeing my babies unharmed was worth it more then anything.

We were lucky to find that the fire had not yet hit the houses in our suburb, only all of the bush surrounding. We were told to be ready to evacuate if the wind changed the direction of the fire. We were expecting 80k/h winds to come. The only way out for everyone in our suburb (about 100 houses), was the lake. The next three hours were a mixture of panic, worry, talking to neighbours, packing the car, packing the boat and calling family and checking updates on the Nsw Fire Service website.

To say we were not prepared would be an understatement. The first thing I did was fill up as many bottles of water I could find, pack a bag of clothes, pack the photo albums and hard drive, and some food/dog food. Benn took all packed bags down to the car. It's weird packing up your life in the space of 20 minutes. What do you take? What do you not take? It really makes you think about what you have.

This whole ordeal has really made us think about being ready next time. We plan over the next month, to use savings money to get two hiking bags packed and ready to go with necessities if this were to happen again. And a bag for the babies too of coarse. Growing up, I was apart of the Latter-Day Saint faith and we were always taught about "72-Hour Kit's". The importance of that for me has never been stronger now, so I have spoken with Benn and we will be following this link to pack our bags. 

The following photos are views of the fire/smoke from our front lawn;

 View from our bathroom window, looking out the back (our house is on stilts);
The Sky on Thursday night.
The Entrance to our suburb.
The end of our street.

 The video below is from the Pacific Highway, about a 3 minute drive from my house.
It is incredible to see how fast the fire moves.