Australia is a land of extremes but last weekend was a killer. It was 45 degrees where I was staying and reached an unheard of 47 degrees in Port Macquarie, a town on the North Coast of NSW. These were first time records as 80 fires erupted throughout the state. Clearly, this was not the usual Australian summer heatwave.
You can imagine the outcome of fires starting in those conditions. The small township Ullambry,was wiped out and though no humans died, all the houses were lost, over 1000 cattle and untold numbers of native animals died. Having lived near the bush in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, I know full well the power of fire and though the firefighters mostly volunteers, do a superb job the fire that wins every time. Its capricious , volatile and now changing in character with the increase in climate change.
While it was great to get some relief in the form of a cool change in my area, yesterday fires broke out in Queanbeyan south of Canberra. Within an extremely short space of time, fifteen homes had been burnt.; the fire is continuing today.
A former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, called Climate Change ‘The greatest moral challenge of our time . I now live in a country where climate change deniers thrive and politicans remain uncommitted to recognising its existence and taking action.
A cool change will no doubt arrive to help the firefighters in Queanbeyan but there will be other fires before this long hot summer is over.