Code Red Day
What a day we had! Last week, I posted about my thoughts on the need to make a fire plan. We hadn’t actually made the plan, but we were thinking very seriously about how we would do it, the decisions to be made, and what we would include. We knew that we were heading into a summer of high fire danger. Would we leave on a high fire danger day? Or would we stay to defend our property. The very next day, the day after my blog post was published, it was announced that the following day, Thursday, was declared a code red day. So we had to make some very serious and very quick decisions.
There is only one road in to our house, so it is very easy to imagine being trapped by fire, if we left it too late to leave. When thinking about our fire plan, the only decision we had made at this stage, was that we would leave early, and we would take Oscar and Molly our two much loved dogs, with us.
Luckily the red alert day was a day off work for me, so we decided to get a few essentials together, and leave early in the morning. We headed into Bendigo, to wait it out at shady Lake Weeroona. Normally my partner would be at work, but on this day, he was not well, and didn’t go to work. So of course, he came along with me. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for him, as he lay on the grass, under the shadiest tree we could find, feeling so very sick. He really should have been home in bed.
As we left the house in the early hours, I felt quite calm about what might happen. I can truly and honestly say that I wasn’t concerned that the house might burn. Whatever will be will be was my thought. I have had a house burn down many years ago . They were stressful times and I survived the worry and trauma of it, and the trauma it caused to my children. I can survive it again. But I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do something to protect our dogs. However I was feeling quite distressed about leaving our 9 chooks, 7 guinea fowl and budgie behind. There was no choice at all to this. So I just had to cross my fingers that nothing would happen.
The day was every bit as bad as the warnings said it would be. Though it was very hot, we do often have hotter days, but along with the high temperature there were very, very strong winds. We soon came to realise that leaving early on this dreadful day, was a very good decision. When the fire warnings were given, a small part of me thought that the authorities may be over-reacting, but as the day went on it became obvious that they were spot on. The temperature rose to 39 degrees, which though hot, is not the hottest we get here most summers. Our February temperatures can be in the mid 40Cs. But what made a difference, and caused the code red alert to be given, was the strong winds, making perfect conditions for a fire to take hold.
By mid afternoon, the skies were red with dust and very eerie. We decided to go home at about 5pm as the temperature was starting to cool, and no incidents had occurred near where we live. Even though I knew there had been no fire, as I drove down our driveway I felt sheer relief that we had survived this code red day unscathed.
We are still in spring which is extremely early for fire danger days such as this. We have been warned that this summer will bring many more days like this. Here’s hoping we are able to survive those days as they come also. It was very lucky for us that this high fire danger day, was a day off from work for me. We have now made arrangements for our dogs to spend the day with friends in town if we have a code red day on a day that I’m working.
Have you made your fire plan? Please don’t put it off as we did. If you have made a fire plan, I’d love to hear what you have included. I love it when you comment and promise to reply to all comments.
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