Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Bays Are Burning

Media outlets may quote from and use the photos in this blog post (1-1-06) on the proviso they include acknowledgement and link to this site.

The hot dry northerly died down a fair while ago then the south-westerly came in around ten. One minute it was still as the grave and the next it was blowing a gale, gusting strong and hard and gloriously cool after such a hideous day. But it's made the fires flare up a lot. I can see them on the top of the ridge of Deadman's Bay (that's the one that's called Correa now). The wind's blowing a lot of the new smoke away but that corner of the sky's orange where the flames are lighting up what there is. The sirens are going again and the train seems to have stopped again. No choppers now. Too windy for them I think and I'm not sure that they can use them in the dark anyways.

There's bad fires in a couple of other spots in the state. The fieries are going to have a bad night on top of their bad day.

Photos from the fires
The choppers are gone. The fires must be under control. There's still plenty of haze and quite a few people will be spending the night in the RSL (Returned Servicemens' League) and the Bowls (Woy Woy Indoor Bowls). Those are where the evacuees went.

The telly just said the temperature at Gosford was 44 (111.20 fahrenheit) today. Jesus H Christ. I wonder what it was here with the heat from the fires blown over the Peninsula and, more to the point, I wonder how hot it gets inside those firefighters' uniforms. Thanks guys, we'd be buggered without you.

The fires are just as bad as they were at lunchtime. The hot dry wind is still with us and the it hasn't rained NBN news just said "record temperatures, 3 homes burnt, 50 under direct threat, the F3 [intercity highway] closed south of Gosford, fires marched northward towards Unima and Pearl Beach" and showed one of those hose-and-tank helicopters. If that's here there could be three choppers here now. There were two bucket choppers when I took the photos.
There's also a hospital under threat from a bushfire in Newcastle. They've got one bucket chopper. And a house fire at Bateau Bay, which is also on the Central Coast, maybe 30 minutes from here. Poor bloody firefighters. We'd be up shit creek without them.

I'll get the national news in a few minutes. The fires here must be among the worst in Australia today because I talked to a journo in New Zealand half an hour ago and a friend just emailed to say there's "crews on the way from Penrith, from Cessnock, Port Stephens" (200+ kilometres away).

Location of Woy Woy fires 1st January 2006
The red bits are the local fires at 2 - 4pm today. They've joined up now from what I can tell from the news.

Before we start, I am in NO danger whatsoever. There's a decent stretch of water between me and the closest fire, I've got all the doors and windows shut tight against the smoke and the TV on in case they sound the alarm to evacuate Woy Woy.

There's a bad bushfire just across the water at Phegans and Woy Woy Bays, the air is so hazy with smoke it's hazy 20 feet from my window and the 10th fire tuck in an hour has just howled off round the The Bays. I can't hear the choppers now. The smoke must be too thick for them to fly. (3.30pm: The choppers are back. One just flew so low over the Peninsula my windows shook.) Evacuees were starting to arrive at the Rawson Road jetty while I was there.

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Evacuees from The Bays. Taken from the end of Rawson Road Woy Woy looking across at Phegans Bay. I walked there a couple of days before Christmas. The white smoke is trees burning, the brown smoke is houses, if it turns black it's cars.

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In the distance we can also see the Wondabyne fire. In this photo there's still only trees burning there (4.30pm: the smoke at Wondabyne is brown now.).

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Bucket chopper turning towards the fire after picking up water between Phegans Bay and Woy Woy.

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Fire truck heading down Rawson Road to take Woy Woy Bay Road to The Bays.

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Phegans Bay from Rawson Road jetty.

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Woy Woy Bay from Rawson Road jetty. Scarcely visible through the smoke are residents evacuating in their boats.

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Another fire truck near the corner of Rawson Road and Railway Street, Woy Woy, on its way to the fire front.

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The smoke is covering Woy Woy as well as The Bays.

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