Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Pablog exclusive: Axel's narrow escape, Part 1

Axel on farm patrol. Looks like fun!

Axel and his daddy, Manny. They're old friends of ours.

Most of you heard about the terrible 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!!

The family ute, which was hit by a tree.

Butch the dog inspecting a fire-damaged paddock on the farm.

A nearby home, destroyed by the flames.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of Axel's narrow escape...



Poppy Q said...

Dear Pabs,
we are glad your buddies got away safe from the fire. It must have been very scairty for thems.

It is a great story, we can't wait until part two.

Big kiwi smooches.

P.S my mum said she ate toast for two weeks, and gave up her grocery money to the Aussie red cross to help out.

Kaz's Cats said...

Pabs, we're so glad that Axel and his family made it safely out of the bushfires. It must have been terrifying for them at the time, though. We love the story, and we'll definitely be back to read part 2.


Gypsy & Tasha

Parker said...

How scary! I'm just glad that your friends are OK!

Forever Foster said...

Omigoodness! That is a very frightening experience. We will certainly be back for part 2. We are thankful that Axel is here to tell us his story.

The Island Cats said...

Oh we're glad Axel and his family are okay! That must have been very scary! We'll be back to read about part two...

Name: Mr. Hendrix said...

Thank God Axel and his family are OK. We checked his bloggy repeatedly thru the week but still no updates since 2007.
Thank you for letting us know he and his furry family and beans are OK.

We can't wait to read the finale.

All those effected by the fires and floods are still in our purrs and prayers.

Daisy said...

Oh my gosh, this story gave me chills. I am glad to know that there is a happy ending. Thank you to Axel for sharing his story. I am looking forward to hearing more!

Eric and Flynn said...

That is such a frightening thing to happen, but we are very glad your friend Axel and his family survived and he can tell his story.

Tracey and Huffle said...

It was a lucky escape for Axel! I'm so glad he's okay. I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.

Huffle Mawson

SophieKitty said...

I was relieved to read that Axel and his family were safe. I'm anxious to read part 2.

MoMo said...

It's sad and scary but we are glad that Axel had his family are survivors and not victims of the fire.