Signs of disastrous Australian bushfires evident here

Bushfires continue to wreak havoc in Australia, with the death toll and property damage climbing. It has been a calamitous end to the year in a horrible fire season.

ABC:

My son is visiting – he has talked about how hard it can be to predict the fires. He was close to being caught in one in Western Australia three years ago (four people were caught and killed, one was a farmer going around warning people of the fire).

People on a beach against a dark orange haze.

PHOTO: People in Batemans Bay evacuated to the coastline amid the fire threat. (Twitter: Alastairprior)

Stuff: Naval ships, aircraft ready for Australia bushfire rescues as thousands jump in water to flee flames

The scenes at Mallacoota on Tuesday morning.

 

MARISKA ASCHER
The scenes at Mallacoota on Tuesday morning.

 

And the signs of the fires are reaching us here in New Zealand. It is overcast this morning in Dunedin but the light is eerie – this is likely due to smoke drifting across the Tasman.

Stuff: Massive currents of smoke from Australian fires reach New Zealand

Bushfire smoke from Australia is blowing across the Tasman Sea towards the South Island.

 

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26 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  1st January 2020

    Same old same Australian bush fire season. When I lived there, one night nearly 40 people killed . Now that was news.
    yes smoke has made it here many times before , but its not news.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  1st January 2020

      Thousands of holidaymakers putting themselves and firefighters in unnecessary danger doesn’t seem like a climate change issue.

      Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  1st January 2020

      Far from the worst in terms of fatalities but I wonder if this is by far the largest in terms of the area affected?

      1. Black Saturday (VIC), 7-8 Feb 2009. 173 dead
      2. Ash Wednesday (VIC, SA), 16-18 Feb 1983. 75 dead
      3. Black Friday (VIC), 13-20 Jan 1939. 71 dead
      4. Black Tuesday (TAS), 7 Feb 1967. 62 dead
      5. Gippsland fires and Black Sunday (VIC), 1 Feb-10 Mar 1926. 60 dead

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  1st January 2020

        “Far from the worst in terms of fatalities but I wonder if this is by far the largest in terms of the area affected?”

        Black Thursday, half of Victoria burned. Australians have a black or ash for every day of the week.

        “The weather reached record extremes. By eleven it was about 47 °C (117 °F) in the shade. The air cooled to 43 °C (109 °F) by one o’clock and rose to 45 °C (113 °F) around four o’clock. Survivors claimed the air was so full of smoke and heat that their lungs seemed to collapse. The air was so dark it made the roads seem bright.[3] Pastures and plains became shrivelled wastelands: water-holes disappeared, creeks dried up, and trees turned into combustible timber. Clouds of smoke filled the air; forests and ranges became one large “sheet of flames”.[3] The hot north wind was so strong that thick black smoke reached northern Tasmania, creating a murky mist, resembling a combination of smoke and fog.[4] Homes, crops and gardens were consumed by the rushing fire leaving a quarter of Victoria in a heap of desolate ruins.”

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  1st January 2020

          “The NSW Rural Fire Service says the scale of what has burned in that state is unprecedented at this point of the fire season.

          “The geographic range, and the fact it is occurring all at once, is what makes it unprecedented,” Bowman says. “There has never been a situation where there has been a fire from southern Queensland, right through NSW, into Gippsland, in the Adelaide Hills, near Perth and on the east coast of Tasmania.”

          “By comparison, this year’s fires are further east, where people live, and have been fuelled by a vast bank of dry fuel following the country’s record-breaking drought. Soil moisture is at historic lows in some areas, and rainfall in the first eight months of the year was the lowest on record in the northern tablelands and Queensland’s southern downs.

          https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/25/factcheck-why-australias-monster-2019-bushfires-are-unprecedented

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  1st January 2020

            Unprecedented -only counting from 1970s- doesnt mean anything. An way these sorts of ‘ major events’ come in long cycles decades apart.
            Of course millennials dont seem to care about anything before the 1970s

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  1st January 2020

              Will more people drown in NZ over the Dec -Jan – Feb period than killed in NSW bush fires in same period.

              Hows that for a New years prediction …but one of course doesnt fit into a climate emergency narrative and acts as click bait for a certain ‘anxious’ demographic

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  1st January 2020

              Surely the alarmists won’t be so dead to decency that they’ll cash in on the fires.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  1st January 2020

              I spoke too soon; Greta Thunberg is holding forth on the subject in her usual hectoring, self-righteous way.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  1st January 2020

      Alan, I read that the people on the beaches were there because they were fleeing from the fires.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  1st January 2020

        They were fleeing from the fires because they went camping in the bush where the fires burnt. Then they had to flee to the coast when their other exit roads were closed by fires.

        Reply
  2. Kitty Catkin

     /  1st January 2020

    The sky is pale grey-white here and the light is sort of diffused as if it was shining through translucent glass. Not a very good description, I know, but the best I can do. It’s strong & even but almost like artificial light.

    I wonder if the fires are responsible for those of us who are asthmatics being much wheezier than usual; I have been using my blue inhalers a lot more than usual for some time now and other people are wheezy. If it’s like that here, what on earth is it like for people in Australia ?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  1st January 2020

      Asthmatics ? The last mass death event in Australia for asthmatics wasnt bushfires ..it was thunderstorms
      “Mr Papadopoulos, from Thomastown, was only 35 years old and one of 10 people who died as a result of the so-called severe allergic asthma during Melbourne’s rare thunderstorm event in 2016.”

      10 people from one event! Melbourne is known as a ‘hotspot’ for the pollen blown to the city from hot windy days
      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-25/thunderstorm-asthma-inquest-victims-cardiac-arrest/9907120

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  1st January 2020

        Smoke makes people wheeze, as does pollen. I once had a major attack on a walkway when the willow trees were blooming.

        I saw on the news that people are having breathing difficulties in Australia because of the smoke.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  1st January 2020

          Hospital admissions in Sydney are up because of people having trouble breathing. On one day in November (!) more than 50 people were really badly affected. Goodness knows how many it is now.

          Reply
  3. Since I wrote this post I went for a walk up Mt Cargill. The smoke got worse through yesterday morning, and we could smell smoke at times. When we got to the top it was very hazy/smoky in all directions, quite spooky.

    Walking down through the bush it was quite dull, similar to dusk.

    By lunchtime when we got back down to the bottom it had mostly cleared.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd January 2020

      It was grey here until not long ago, and is still not really blue. The grey was as grey as if it was overcast, but it was very even; as you said, it was like dusk (or almost) But it wasn’t the sort of taupe that you have been having. The light is still odd, glaring rather than shining.

      Reply
  4. This seems corny to me, and opportunist trying to link one summer of fires to a multi-decade change in climate, but this has become common.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  2nd January 2020

      It’s also very bad taste, it seems to be making light of this hideous tragedy.

      Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  2nd January 2020

    It’s been overcast in Welly yesterday & today, but this the early morning sunlight streaming in from cloud breaks was orange, & the sun was orange too, surrrounded by an orange halo in hazy brownish skies. I’ve never seen it like this before. The smoke cloud from Oz has obviously reached us.

    It’s 9 am & as the sun’s climbed higher it’s now shining its normal yellow colour.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd January 2020

      *this moning

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  2nd January 2020

        🙄 *morning

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  2nd January 2020

          ‘Good moning.’

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  2nd January 2020

            Dreadfully embarrassing when one’s correction needs a correction.

            It’s overcast here at nearly 3pm, but the light looks reasonably normal with the sun still high overhead. I’ll be interested to see if there’s any colour change as the sun starts to set again. It’s very windy, so the skies might have cleared a bit in Welly now. Last night there was a brownish haze across the horizons all around up to a several thousand feet.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd January 2020

              I was quoting Pilot Officer (?) Crabtree. ‘Good moaning…do you want the good nose or the bad nose first ?’

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd January 2020

              Officer Crabtree.

              It’s still blue-grey here and the light is still glary.

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