It's difficult to put into words what i felt, last Thursday afternoon, when we were alerted to a grass fire which had ignited on a rural property within 10klms from our tranquil 2acre property.
Fortunately, we were prepared well ahead of the forecasted 40+ four-day heatwave, and we made sure that all our water tanks were full. The sprinklers and fire hoses were set in position all around the house, including a large sprinkler on the roof.
We also had a 2000 litre water truck available, if necessary.
We kept a close check on the Emergency Information website for regular updates and by Thursday evening the fire had escalated and was heading north-west. We were in no immediate danger because our property is situated north-east, and luckily for us, there was a strong easterly breeze that night. Nevertheless, we couldn't afford to let our guard down as the whole surrounding rural community area, within a 30klm radius, was on a 'watch and act' alert. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep that night.
By midday on Friday, the temperature soared to a scorching 45C and the wind had turned from a northerly to a westerly, which meant the fire was heading our way. Suddenly the reality of actually having to evacuate struck me, and my head started to ache. What do i take? what do i leave behind? I have thought through this scenario many a time in the past, but now i actually had to do it.
The first thing i did was to pick up my camera and as i walked around the house i took several photos of each room. Then i proceeded to pack some clothes into a suitcase. The laptop was next, then my elna & singer featherweight sewing machines, as well as one of my antique sewing machines. A few of my old toys in a basket; a few quilting books & quilting projects; a basket with all my DJ stuff; a few personal belongings, including family photos and lastly four antique quilts. I was surprisingly calm as i packed my car and i felt good about what i had decided to take and what i was leaving behind. If & when the time came to leave, all i had to do was grab my two cats and go, simple as that.
By late afternoon, the wind dropped unexpectedly and the sky turned dark & smokey. The setting sun was bright red, it was an eerie sight.
To our relief, there was only the slightest breeze througout the rest of the evening. However, the fire was still burning ferociously, which meant we were still under threat of ember attack, so we hosed the house down (again) just before midnight, and we remained vigilant throughout the night.
Waking up to a lovely cool change yesterday morning, after enduring four scorching days of unbearable heat, was simply wonderful, but you know what the best news was? The bushfire had finally been contained, in the early hours of the morning, and was no longer posing a threat to our local rural community... i can't tell how relieved we were to hear that.
It felt so good to be able to unpack my car, which i didn't do until late yesterday afternoon... just in case.