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Catastrophic Risk « Abigail Bayley's Blog

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Catastrophic Risk

Catastrophic risk – sounds pretty scary and dramatic doesn’t it?  Well, this is how the current fire risk in parts of Victoria is being described today.  We are lucky in Melbourne and its surrounds, the risk here is apparently only extreme!

We are in the middle of a heatwave here in Melbourne with the temperatures hitting 43.6 in the city yesterday afternoon and not dipping below 30 degrees overnight.   El Scorchio to say the very least.  Walking home from the pool yesterday my hair was sun and wind blasted dry 2 minutes down the road.

Days like these bring back bad memories of 2009 and the days that preceded and followed Black Saturday when over 100 people lost their lives in bush fires here.

Back in 2009 there was a week of temperatures above 40 degrees (or 100!).  Usually familiar and safe places felt dangerous and off limits in this heat.  Just heading out for a run seemed like a risk.  Wildlife was dying all over the place – the family of possums that lived in a tree on Steve’s parents property just literally dropped out of their tree, dead.  Too hot for too long.  Climate change is here!

pre heatwave happy possums

pre heatwave happy possums

Last year on the Black Saturday weekend I left Steve and Melbourne for rookie camp with teamTBB.  Fires were literally burning all around him.  But for a wind change fire was approaching Steve’s family home and was less than an hour away at one point.  It took lives as close as the next suburb away from him.

One of our favourite rides in Australia is out through Kinglake and this was one of the worst areas hit.  Riding up into Kinglake after the fire was an eerie experience.  Trees and anything green were gone and blackened charcoal was all that was left as far as the eye could see – and that was now a very long way with no leaves to block out the view.

kinglake before the fires

kinglake before the fires

fire

So today is another day predicted to be 40 degrees plus in Melbourne.  I can’t imagine how some people must be feeling now.  I just really hope today or the next time there is a heat wave, catastrophe isn’t around the corner again for this beautiful country.

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