Lance Goodall 4 Jan 2020
There, in a photo his friend took, was a “big devil face” emerging from a raging fire in Victoria’s East Gippsland region.
The dairy farmer spent 13 hours defending his property from a fire that spat out 100 metre large fireballs.
“It hit us like four or five times, the chopper pilots are heroes, they saved it (the property) …I’m very glad people did not get killed here,” he told Channel 7.
“We had fireballs coming over, jumping. Some of them were 50 metres to 100 metres across.
“We’ve got a photo a friend took and I’m not into hooky pooky stuff but there was a big devil face in it.”
Mr Calvert said the government’s incompetence led to the disaster fire season and he pleaded with the Prime Minister to not let any more people die.
Two people have died in the East Gippsland region, with 28 people missing.
A state of disaster has been declared for six local government areas and three alpine resorts across Victoria.
The declaration involves powers introduced in the aftermath of devastating 2009 blazes which have never been used before, including the power to compel people to evacuate.
The areas covered by the declaration, which has been made for seven days, are East Gippsland Shire, Mansfield Shire, Wellington Shire, Wangaratta Rural Shire, Towong Shire and Alpine Shire.
Australia’s bushfire crisis — useless trying to predict how blazes will behave
Scientific modelling used to predict how bushfires will behave is “not coping” with the current fire situation in south-eastern Australia because the fires are so big, an incident controller says.
- As fires build they create their own weather, so data from the weather bureau becomes less relevant
- “Significant movement” of all fires in Gippsland is expected from Friday afternoon through to Sunday morning
- For the latest information visit the VicEmergency website.
Andy Gillham, from the Bairnsdale incident control team in Gippsland, Victoria, said in coming days some communities would have fires approaching “from almost all directions”.
“Everybody’s saying the same thing; and that is that a lot of the scientific modelling that we use to try and predict where fire might run is not coping with what’s happening in the landscape just purely because of the fire load,” he told ABC Gippsland.
Mr Gillham said as fires build they create their own weather, so data from the weather bureau becomes less relevant.
“We know roughly what’s happening but the fires are basically doing what they want in the landscape,” he said.
“That’s why the state of disaster was declared in Victoria and the state of emergency in New South Wales — because we just need to get people out of the way.”
Fires exceeded human and computer predictions
NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the fires in New South Wales on New Year’s Eve exceeded all predictions.
“We saw extraordinary fire behaviour with fires, five of them, burning at the emergency warning alert level from 8:00am or earlier,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.
“Those fires exceeded all the manual predictions and all the computer-based predictions for what was to be the expected fire spread.
“Those fires spread at what we call the absolute worst case scenario, which typically is not what happens when it plays out on the ground.”
He said the RFS had rerun a number of the models and forecasts, as they do routinely.
They are expecting conditions on Saturday to be even worse than on New Year’s Eve.
No safe place, only ‘safer places’
Mr Gillham said the unpredictable nature of the fires, and the fact that some communities could see fires approach from multiple directions, meant staying to defend properties was only an option for the few extremely well-prepared people who were experienced and understood fire.
But even then, he urged them to think twice.
“We expect significant movement of all fires starting from this afternoon, running through until about Sunday morning when conditions will ease off,” he said.
“We just want to reinforce that message. Just leave.”
He suggested people go to their nearest evacuation centre or if that wasn’t possible, the middle of their nearest large community.
“There’s no sugar-coating on this,” he said.
“There is no safe place, but there are safer places.”
NSW and Victoria bushfires could be unstoppable
Authorities fear bushfires already burning across south-east Australia could be unstoppable under high temperatures and hot, gusty winds predicted today.
- Temperatures will reach into the 40s in parts of NSW and Victoria with strong winds expected before a southerly change
- Authorities fear existing bushfires will spread and join and dry lightning could start new ones
- The NSW Rural Fire Service says fires could move “frighteningly quickly” like they did on New Year’s Eve
There are also grave fears dry lightning could start new fires across parts of New South Wales and Victoria that have not already been devastated over recent days.
Temperatures in parts of each state will reach into the 40s, with Albury-Wodonga expected to hit a maximum of 46 degrees Celsius.
About 60 evacuees from the fire-hit Victorian coastal town of Mallacoota this morning arrived at Hastings, south-east of Melbourne, on the Navy training ship MV Sycamore.
About 1,000 more people are expected to arrive on another Navy ship, HMAS Choules, later today.
After fire razed parts of the town on New Year’s Eve, other holidaymakers and residents were taken out by helicopter to Bairnsdale and Sale.
Across the state around 100,000 people were urged to evacuate ahead of today’s dangerous conditions.
Fires have burned about 820,000 hectares across Victoria in recent days, and about 50 blazes are continuing to burn in the state.
“We can expect that with the winds this morning and the higher temperatures followed by this change later in the day, south-westerly change, that the fires will be quite unpredictable in their behaviour and spread and that’s going to make firefighting difficult,” State Control Centre spokesperson James Todd said.
‘We’ve never been as prepared,’ NSW Premier says
Across the border in NSW, thousands more heeded warnings to leave large parts of the NSW South Coast, from Nowra to the Victorian border and the Snowy Monaro region.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Saturday morning there were 137 bush and grass fires burning across the state, with about 60 uncontained.
More than 3,000 firefighters will be on the ground in NSW today.
“We’ve never been as prepared as we are today for the onslaught we’re likely to face due to the deteriorating conditions,” she said.
“Today is all about saving lives,” she said.
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the hot, dry temperatures were set to begin around 8:00-11:00am.
He said the communities advised to evacuate on the South Coast should do so now if they had not already.
“Our message has been make sure you leave yesterday,” he said.
“Leaving it until today is cutting it fine. The sooner you make that decision, the better. And I would say do it now.
“Don’t leave it any longer because the window will shrink and will shrink very quickly.”
Eight people have died in the NSW bushfires since Monday, with almost 500 homes destroyed over the New Year period.
Over that same time, two people died in Victoria while 28 remain unaccounted for, and at least 70 homes or structures have been razed.
Fires expected to spread in NSW
A total fire ban is in place across NSW with extreme fire danger in much of the state’s south-east, and authorities are warning conditions could become catastrophic.
Existing fires are expected to spread significantly under difficult conditions.
An RFS map of predicted fire paths shows a blaze at Green Valley could impact nearly the entire Mount Kosciuszko National Park with either actual fire spread or ember attacks.
RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said the fires could move “frighteningly quickly”, as they did on New Year’s Eve.
“Even those areas that have already been impacted by fire, there’s still a lot of pockets among the bush that we’re quite concerned about that might flare up,” Mr Rogers said.
He pleaded with people to avoid the path of fires and head to a larger town or beach for safety.
“Our pure focus … is about the preservation of life.”
Mr Rogers warned a stretch of fire that has crossed into Victoria could return on Saturday, potentially merging with another blaze and creating a fire front stretching up to 70 kilometres.
“We can’t stop those fires. We can’t stop the fires we already have.”
Closer to Sydney, another point of vulnerability is on the southern side of the Green Wattle Creek Blaze burning near Mittagong.
“Our strategy is to lay retardant on it ahead of it just to try and slow its progress, so it doesn’t get to places like Mittagong,” Mr Rogers said.
The RFS is also closely watching a section of the Gospers Mountain blaze, north-west of Penrith, where predictions suggest fire and ember attacks could creep towards Sydney.
Mr Rogers said there was a “breakout” there on Friday and while crews were confident of getting on top of it, the blaze remained a concern.
Huge fire fronts raging across Victoria
In Victoria, a huge complex of fires in East Gippsland stretches from north of Bairnsdale to the New South Wales border, with areas not already burnt under threat.
Another complex of fires in the Alpine region, started by dry lightning this week, is threatening a number of ski resorts and could join up with a third group of fires burning in the north-east of the state, around Corryong and Walwa.
Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the state had “literally hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of active fire edge, of uncontained fire”.
“The major risk is the fires we don’t know about, the new starts,” he said.
“Crews will be so busy protecting communities that fighting new fires in dangerous conditions will be very difficult.”
The ranks of Australian crews will be bolstered by the addition of 41 firefighters from the United States today, and up to 70 aircraft will be used to attack the blazes.
Authorities are urging people across affected areas not to become complacent. Milder weather is predicted for the morning, but there will be an escalation in bushfire behaviour later in the day.
The Bureau of Meteorology is expecting hot, dry north-westerly winds ahead of a southerly change.
The change reached Victoria’s south-west in the early hours of this morning and crossed metropolitan Melbourne about 8:00am.
It will push into the Gippsland region — the area most affected by the recent fires — by the early afternoon and will move into the north-east of the state by evening and later on into NSW.
Temperatures on Sunday are expected to drop dramatically, into the high-teens and low-20s.
Hell On Earth
The headlines are clear…..
Hell on Earth – Apocalyptic – Unstoppable – Unpredictable – Devastating – Unprecedented
So the question/s I pose is who is to blame for the fires?
- Is it climate change?
- Is it the green’s policies, with the poor management of state forests, with foliage and undergrowth left to build on the forest floors creating these firestorms?
- is it the lack of land clearing?
- Is it high winds and soaring temperatures this season?
- is it the Indian Ocean Dipole which has increased the temperatures and brought less rain?
- Is there not enough fire trucks and other firefighting equipment in state funding?
- Is it PM Scott Morrison and his failure to take control?
- Is God turning up the temperatures and bringing all this devastation?
- Is it the Devil laughing at us, and killing lives and communities?
Any one of these is the possible answer….but if this is indeed divine judgement on Australia, why then is no one taking it to heart?
We talk of Apocalyptic or Hell on Earth, Hell Fire, but in the same breath dismiss it as just rhetoric?
Why blame climate change and then accuse Scott Morrison of not doing enough, when we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Failing to honour and thank God for our life, and what He gives us daily in his kindness and mercy?
“The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God” (Psalm 14:2). And what does the all-seeing God find? “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (verse 3). In other words, all have sinned.
If the devil is sending these fires from HELL, then we know that this is a supernatural occurrence, and therefore, the explanation is we have clearly done things to allow him to bring this devastation, by breaking God’s Laws and remaining in rebellion, stiffneckness, and only looking at these situations through natural eyes.
As I stated in a previous article the answer seems to be a compelling, this is wake up call (or should be) to Australia, that we can’t play fast and loose with God. In other words of we want to ignore Him, go along happily as if nothing is wrong, and live our own lives, living by our own individual moral compass, going our own way, but then, if God is who He says He is, then we will suffer the consequences.
“Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength,..”
God cannot ignore and tolerate sin. Eventually the eyes of the Lord who sees our hearts and actions will say enough is enough. Even though he is patient, and long suffering there is a limit. We are commanded to repent, and turn to God.
Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,.. — Acts 3:19
But will we??
The problems of drugs, alcohol, youth suicides, murder, domestic violence, the break down of family, divorce, immorality, Abortion, Euthanasia, lack of respect for life, and other social ills are just the tip of the iceberg when we look at Australia.
More bushfire coverage:
- ‘It’s smashed everyone’: Gippsland locals survey the damage as others flee amid evacuation alerts
- ‘We lost everything’: Couple forced to live out of car with two kids and 13 dogs
- ‘Unstoppable’ bushfire engulfs large areas of Kangaroo Island
- NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott labels his absence during bushfires ‘inexcusable
- Lull before storm as evacuations continue ahead of horror weekend: As it happened
- About 1,000 people — and their pets — evacuated from Mallacoota on Navy ships
- Bushfire crisis ‘not about one individual’, says PM after angry criticism
- We spoke to Black Saturday firefighters after 10 years and they had a simple message
- ‘It’s resonated across the world’: How one Mallacoota resident kept his fire-hit town connected
- 14 people and 2 dogs piled into a tinny meant for 6 as flames lapped at the shore
- Youth group recounts ‘dystopian novel’ experience of sheltering from fire in cinema