Writing about fires (too) close to home
FOR weeks I've been writing fire stories for the paper.
Today, as I write my editorial column from my home in Federal, a catastrophic warning has been given for areas across the state as 60 fires burn, more than half of them out of control.
Catastrophic - it's a chilling word.
The wind is picking up, and my eyes sting from the smoke in the air.
The birds are quiet, as if they know what is coming.
As soon as I hit print on the paper, I'll organise a box of important things to keep safe.
Passports, the kids' birth certificates, photos from the past before we had the cloud, mementos and I'm not sure what else.
The wind is expected to be unrelenting tomorrow and turning north-easterly.
This does not bode well for my neck of the woods.
If I need to evacuate, I'll load my box of selected things, two chickens, an angry duck and two dogs into my car and head to a friend's house on the coast. The menagerie will be a sight.
For now, I have a gnawing tension in my stomach as I obsessively check the Fires Near Me app and keep in touch with neighbours.
Across the state, there are hundreds of people, like me doing the same thing.
There are so many who have been through a fire disaster and are left with nothing.
Residents of Rappville, Bora Ridge, Mrytle Creek, Ewingar, Drake and Busbys Flat have fled their homes or sheltered in schools.
The light in my little village has a golden glow about, its almost beautiful.
I water my pot plants with the shower water and wonder if they'll survive the heat.
It's as if my tired garden is begging for a little more water, not this dryness, that happened so quickly in this usually green part of the state.
I'm going to tidy the house before I leave, god knows why, but it feels right to leave it in the best possible way.
Because it isn't just a house, it's my home.