Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Australian Bushfire Sunsets

Living amongst bushland in Australia is one of the most pleasurable places to be as a nature photographer though, as the tragic fires in Victoria have shown, conditions can change quickly.

I live more than 500Km from the areas still under threat and was woken around 4am EST Yesterday to the strong smell of smoke.
Checking the house first, I then surveyed the surrounding bushland for any signs of fire.
As the sun rose, the surrounds thick with smoke haze, visibility was down to under a kilometer.
Later that day I saw the "chopper report" for traffic in Sydney.
Located some 1000Km from the fires, prevailing winds had carried the smoke as far as there, with reduced visibility on the motorways.

These following photos demonstrate, to some degree, the extent of those fires.
This first photo was taken on Sun afternoon before the prevailing winds brought the smoke haze in, though some smoke particles are evident in the "raying" of the light.

This next shot was taken on the Tuesday afternoon showing the redness of the sky, the sun setting through thick haze from those distant fires.

With tomorrow predicted to be a bad day for containment of the fires in Victoria, my thoughts and best wishes go out to all concerned in battling those blazes.
With changes in environmental conditions, bad fire days are expected to become more frequent in the following years and decades.
Investigations into how the toll on life and property could be reduced will follow soon.
Two incredible survival stories that came to light involved the survivors taking refuge in "bunkers" of sorts. One was located alongside a concrete water tank of some size. The water would have acted as a heat buffer I imagine.
With fires as ferocious as the ones we have seen in Victoria, a suitable place of shelter may be a good legislative change when escape is not an option.

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