bushfires that happened in country Victoria (in southeast Australia) in early February. While many people and creatures lost their lives and their homes in these fires, we can be thankful that no blogging kitties or their families were hurt in this disaster. But my mate and sometime blogger Axel had a very close call, and he's written a report on his experiences that I'm honoured to publish here on Pablog.
First, some context. Axel was born in Tasmania and adopted by his daddy, Manny, who is a friend of Kate and Nick's (Kate even went to the adoption centre with Manny when he adopted Axel!). A few years ago, Axel and Manny moved from Tasmania to Victoria. Axel now lives with his nonno and nonna on a farm around an hour's drive north of Melbourne, just north of a town called Wandong, while his daddy lives in the city.
Here is part 1 of Axel's narrow escape, along with a few pictures taken by Manny in the days after the fires:
Hello Everycat, Axel here.
The first thing I want to say is, I am not a bushfire victim, I am a bushfire survivor. Pablo has asked me to give a meow-by-meow account of what happened on Saturday the 7th of February. I am very honoured to have been asked to do this. So here goes...
We woke up to another bad day of heat and wind. In fact, the worst that Victoria has ever seen on record. The gauges at the farm read 49 degrees (120F) by midday! Then my nonna and nonno saw smoke directly west of them, over on the other side of the Hume Highway, the main route from Melbourne to Sydney. The wind was blowing south towards Melbourne, so we were ok. It very quickly spread to the Hume, then jumped over the other side, but we were still ok. We lost power and phones, but the mobiles were still ok. So nonna was calling daddy every hour or so for updates from the emergency websites.
They activated their fire plans when they realised this fire was out of control – a few fires were now burning, a cool change was predicted, but they still put me, my farmhand Jerry, and Butch the sleepy dog into the cellar out of the smoke and danger. The cool change came, but it didn’t help at all. All it did was turn the wind straight back at us. It wasn’t long before the fire was raging straight up at us!! So we abandoned everything, all got into nonno’s ute (like a pickup truck) and tried to get to a safe area. Only a couple of km’s down the road the fire had caught us, and big trees were falling everywhere. It was very dark now too. Even though it was only 6pm, the thick smoke was blocking out the sunlight. All of a sudden – SMASH!! We drove into a fallen tree!!
Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of Axel's narrow escape...