Look Ma, I'm in the paper!

Posted: Tue, 10 February 2009 | permalink | No comments

From the local paper, yesterday, in a larger article about the bushfires roaming hither and yon:

While arsonists are allegedly responsible for the fatal fires in Victoria, it was "idiots" who laid the groundwork for a potential blaze in the Royal National park near Helensburgh yesterday.

Rural Fire Service Illawarra manager Richard Cotterill said that despite a total fire ban being in effect for the Illawarra and most of southern NSW, weekend bushwalkers in the park lit a campfire and then left it to smoulder.

Mr Cotterill said two trucks with about 10 firefighters tended to the bushfire hazard just before 1pm, after being alerted to the smoking logs by a resident.

"Obviously someone has not taken the fire ban rules into account and we are just lucky that we haven't had any significant wind conditions being as hot as it is," Mr Cotterill said.

"Something like that is obviously potentially very, very dangerous. You get a wind blowing embers into the bush and it is downhill from there.

"It's a very stupid thing to do and obviously people don't realise just how dangerous it can be."

I like Richard. Nice bloke, works hard for the local area, speaks straight and doesn't mince words. "Idiots" indeed. Several thousand homes are threatened if the Royal National Park burns. We've got easier evacuation paths than a lot of the people down in Victoria had, but it still could have been pretty bad.

Meanwhile, the weather up here has turned grey and cold, which will be a mixed blessing for the firefighters working up at Peats Ridge and Singleton, and down around Bega. It's a lot nicer to fight a fire at 24 degrees celsius rather than 40, but the misty rain we've had around home would be enough to make backburning impossible, whilst not being enough to really knock down the fire. The winds we got on Sunday night would have made life far more exciting than is comfortable, too.

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