Victoria is burning.

Update 9 Feb: There are now 126 people confirmed dead, and the toll is projected to rise about 200.

Flickr photoset of the firest here.


Any fire reports? Are the Hoydenizens ok? There’s probably no mobile coverage if you are in the affected area, but I’m sending the good vibes out to you on another channel.

They’ve just announced live on Sky that Moiree Naylor, the wife one of the Ch9 newsreaders is one of the 76 84 96 people who have been killed so far, and Brian Naylor himself is unaccounted for. The announcers are getting rather choked up. The Naylors’ son was killed in a plane crash last year. R.I.P. to all those killed by the fires.

[Update: It has been confirmed that Brian Naylor has died already. His tagline was “May your news be good news, and goodnight”.]

My thoughts go out to all of the folks and animals affected, and to the fireys and emergency crews working to help them. If you wish to help, the Australian Red Cross would be a good place to start. If you’re healthy and in Victoria, you could also donate blood. Burn victims can require a lot of blood products.

Update: There’s a current Google map here, if you’re outside the danger zone and just looking for information.

[Note: I’d loaded this image from the DSE Fire Situation page in the background before realising that there’s a request on it to keep the pageloads to people who need it for safety reasons. Thanks for respecting that.]

Picture 2

Picture 1

Categories: Life

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41 replies

  1. I was so horrified when I saw the death toll on the news this morning, and it’s only been steadily increasing since then. My heart goes out to everyone affected.

  2. Reading the news, I think a friend of mine has lost her family home. I can’t even begin to imagine. The stories are just heartbreaking.

  3. I’m just appalled.

  4. The death toll is appalling. We know these things can happen, they’ve happened before, but that doesn’t make it any less terrible.
    Take care, everyone in a bushfire area.

  5. They’re saying that at least some of these fires were arson. Which makes this mass murder.

  6. I’ve got friends tangled up in these fires. I still haven’t heard from my cousins or my sister.
    Today is really not a day I want to see happening again…here or anywhere else.
    Fizz’s last blog post..Around The Grounds – Preseason Round One

  7. This is awful. The death toll keeps rising. Apparently there are also reports of “fire tourists”- people going just to gawk. How sick.

  8. Channel 10 news just reported that Brian Naylor is dead.

  9. I kept reading the stories – the ones where people’s homes were only saved because they stayed to fight, and they probably saved other people’s too. And then I kept seeing the death toll rising, and I just wonder how anyone is supposed to make a decision in that situation. Stay and fight and help the fireys (which is usually the best plan) and risk your life, or go and risk everything else.
    I just can’t get that story out of my head with the little girl asking “Mummy, am I going to live tomorrow?”. Christ.

  10. Horrible. Heartbreaking. All of those people, yes mass murder is what it is. How can anyone do this? And the animals, livestock who just have nowhere to go.

  11. Wow . . . my thoughts are with everyone who is there and to those who have family and friends currently unaccounted for. I hope, respectively, that you stay safe and hear from them soon.

  12. Dear god, I saw the rising count on Yahoo (it’s the top story here in the US) this morning. Like Cara, my thoughts are with the people of Victoria and their friends/family. Stay safe.

  13. What part of Ash Wednesday 1983 did we not learn from?
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Clarkson drops self in Brown

  14. Fizz – I really hope you hear good news soon. Let us know.

  15. I had no idea how quickly the death toll had risen…108!??

  16. FP, it’s like watching a nightmare, isn’t it? Those poor, poor people.

  17. I had to stop reading/listening. There was an audio file of a woman who was rescued by her family on a tractor, but she had had to call a radio station to say it was coming at them, was minutes away, there were eight small kids and they just didn’t know what to do and couldn’t see any emergency services. It was just too sad. I can’t help but think how frightened people must have been.

  18. FP, I just saw that in The Age. Thoughts and prayers.

  19. I am about 45 minutes from one of the fires but we are not under threat.
    Everything is covered in a thick layer of black ash. I am just glad we have a home etc to have to clean up, some aren’t so lucky.
    I remember the Ash Wednesday fires, I was 9 and we were on our way to Melbourne for my 4yr old brother to have surgery. The sky (at night) was a brilliant orange. It was terrifying.
    Heartfelt sympathy to those who have experience any loss in this horrible tragedy.

  20. Parents live on the edge of the northern suburbs. Yesterday found a dog, dazed, wandering the streets, burnt. Must have run all the way from Wallan.

  21. ETA: Just heard from my sister. She, her husband and the kids are all fine.
    Thank Christ for that.
    The bad news is the body count went up again – it’s 108 now.
    Fizz’s last blog post..Around The Grounds – Preseason Round One

  22. @ Fizz:
    Fizz, I’m so glad that they’re all OK, and wish the same for everyone else in the fire zones.
    The body count just stuns me.

  23. From The Australian:

    How did this happen? In this age of instant, updated communications and state-of-the-art weather reports, and with thousands of well-prepared firefighters and emergency response plans, how did so many people die?
    It wasn’t through a lack of warning about what might happen. On Friday, Mr Brumby said bluntly that Saturday could be the “worst day in the history of the state”.
    Don’t travel, don’t go out, stay at home and check on your neighbours, he said.
    But even those warnings could not overcome the fact that Victoria has suffered the perfect storm, when the elements combined to create a natural apocalypse of appalling dimensions.
    Melbourne suffered the hottest day in its history on Saturday, with the temperature hitting 46.4C, but in some parts of the tinder-dry state the mercury nudged 48C.
    The fatal factor was the wind, with gusts of 100km/h fanning flames, transforming small fires into infernos.
    Even so, by early afternoon on Saturday, while large fires had broken around the state – near Kinglake, Bunyip, Wandong, Churchill, Bendigo and Hamilton – there were no reports of deaths.
    It looked, momentarily, as if Victoria would survive, with extensive property damage but minimal loss of life.
    Then the wind changed. In Melbourne the sky changed with it, turning an ominous purple-brown. Those with long memories recalled seeing the same sky once before – on Ash Wednesday in 1983, when 75 people died in Victoria and South Australia.
    The southeasterly change, about 3pm, instantly doomed dozens of lives. It blew the fires from their predicted paths faster than anyone expected, confounding firefighters and suddenly posing a deadly threat to farms and townships that had appeared safe.
    Firefronts exploded, racing up hills with inconceivable speed, swallowing all in their path.

  24. Body count is at 128 according to the ABC radio broadcasts…
    This just keeps getting worse.
    Fizz’s last blog post..Around The Grounds – Preseason Round One

  25. It is hell on earth. As I sit at my desk smoke obscures the dandenongs in the distance.

  26. The picture in this link:
    is just really moving. These people had been separated so that she could take their child out of the area, he stayed to try to fight the fire. They wouldn’t have known how bad it would get, they wouldn’t have known if each was alive and while it feels like too personal a moment to intrude on, a scene of joy at reuniting in the midst of all this is just staggering.

  27. FP, I noticed that image too– it’s so powerful, and, unlike so many other images to come out of this, so full of hope.

  28. @Deus Ex Macintosh: What part of Ash Wednesday 1983 did we not learn from?
    I don’t know. What part of Ash Wednesday 1983 did we not learn from? Maybe we shouldn’t let people live in Victoria?

  29. I don’t have the words to express how heartbreaking I find all of this. But the way communities are coming together is warming. I know some people who had to evacuate and have lost their homes – they’re currently in the crisis centres. Apparently a LOT of women have had their periods brought on from the trauma, and are in dire need of menstrual products – I know the Red Cross are asking for money only donations at the moment, but when they are able to receive other donations, I think it would be awesome if we could get some sort of tampons and pads donation drive going.

  30. Oz Ozzie
    Something tells me we need to rethink our commuities- live in clusters with plenty of exotics, fruit trees and the like, and keep the people and eucalypts virtually separate. As much as it breaks my heart to say it. Oh give me a home among the gum trees, not any more.

  31. I can only imagine that when towns like Marysville are rebuilt they will be the epitome of fire-safe communities. Hopefully they will also be completely up to date in terms of environmentally friendly technologies– solar panels, water saving (doubly important in terms of fire-protection, of course), etc.

  32. Soooooooooooooo sad.

  33. They’re saying that at least some of these fires were arson.

    The British news was reporting on that tonight; they were talking as if it’s confirmed in a few cases.
    Hugs Fizz.

  34. lucinda, I just spotted this at the Dawn Chorus.

  35. It’s up to 173 confirmed.
    This just keeps getting bigger…
    Fizz’s last blog post..Firebird Suite

  36. Of course now we have a wing-nut claiming it was because Victoria decriminalised abortion. FFS.

  37. Yes Mindy, I just saw that, blogged in a fit of rage, and came here to tell people. It’s the most vile thing anyone could POSSIBLY say right now!
    fuckpoliteness’s last blog post..I don’t believe in any god that wouldn’t strike Nalliah instantly mute for this shit

  38. This is a really good one-stop-shop link of ways to help the victims of the Victorian bushfires
    Bushfire – Other Ways to Give –

  39. To all you fireys in Vic. I think you guys are so amazing, not only are you risking your lives to save others your bringing pride to Aus. These bushfires are devastating and what your doing can make all the difference. I feel so sorry for the people left homeless or have lost loved ones, I promise I wont stop donating until everyone is safe.
    God bless all of the fireys and may all those people having a hard time soon be able to return to their homes and live the rest of their lives.
    My thoughts are with you.


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