Australia is a landscape of extremes: drought, flood, and bushfire. I dread flood and bushfire.
This week, blustering winds have made being outside unpleasant. Luckily, those winds have not been accompanied by the blistering heat of previous early summers that yellow the entire landscape, turning grass into straw.
Our local area is still very green despite it being October because of the good rainfall throughout the winter and previous two years. We have had phenomenal grass growth. Locals warn that it will become a potential fire hazard when summer dries it out.
Whenever I drive into Bungendore (a local town), I can see why locals are concerned. Many of the untended paddocks feature waist high grasses that have already yellowed despite the fact that it is not yet summer. Those grasses look like a rippling sea in the current winds. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how wild fire would consume our region. (I’ve used wild as an adjective here for this who think I might have a spelling error).
As part of our seasonal precautionary measures, my husband and I are slashing our paddock grasses to form a fire break and maintaining a wide stretch of lawn around our home. Roof gutters have been cleaned of leaves, and the water system that rings our home has been checked to ensure it is fully functional. Undergrowth in the trees near our property is also being removed. I don’t need to go to a gym at the moment because this work is arduous.
Elsewhere in Australia, bushfire rages in the north, wild and unruly, hungrily consuming the landscape. My prayers are with the people in those regions.
I thought readers would be interested in pictures of an undergrowth burn-off taken a while ago. I took these pictures when I lived in another rural area. I lived on RAAF base Tindal, south of the township of Katherine in the Northern Territory. You can see how close the bush was to my home.
Burn-off is a precautionary measure to avoid the fuel that feeds a full-fledged bushfire. It is a sobering sight. Environmentalists are opposed to the burn-off, arguing it destroys bio-diversity. They ignore the scale of destruction and loss of life that bushfire brings.