Saturday, February 28, 2009

Search and Recovery

37 still missing as more soldiers join bushfire search (The Age, today)

"Ninety reservists from interstate flew into Melbourne today to join the search and recovery effort as authorities warned of another severe fire threat with extreme weather conditions early next week.

...[Police, soldiers and other official personnel] will go right through the 1,300 or so sites that were affected by the fire to confirm that there are no more human remains.

"It's not an easy task. We know that there are 37 missing persons still, the odds are we will come across human remains during this search.''"

Jesus. Thank fuck someone has got what it takes to do that job. Dunno if I could.

National Day of Mourning

Watched the broadcast of the service at the arena in Melbourne. It was very well done. I sniffled through the entire thing.

If you missed the broadcast, go to ABC iView or YouTube.

Not over yet

"As well as predictions of increasing temperatures, the Department of Sustainability and Environment's chief fire officer Ewan Waller said winds would average between 60 to 80km/h with gusts of up to 140km/h in some areas on Tuesday.

"Tuesday's severe weather day will significantly increase risks for firefighters," Mr Waller said. "The threat of falling trees and limbs will increase in these conditions."

"There has been a fantastic team effort by all agencies, including our interstate and international colleagues, in working to contain fire lines.

"However, we remain vulnerable to breakaways as well as new outbreaks, particularly as weather conditions once again deteriorate this week.''

Fire crews have made the most of a cool change that swept through key areas late yesterday to continue containment work on the main fires, including the Kilmore East-Murrindindi complexes, to reduce further risk of flare-ups and breakouts.

By 4pm today [Saturday 28th Feb], the 623 fires listed by the DSE had burnt up to 400,000 hectares, with four major fires still burning out of control." (The Age, same article as above)


Blood donation sign-up or ring 13 14 95.

Give money online to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal or at 1800 811 700.

Give at the Salvation Army 137 258 or go to

Thank you to all who clicked through from this blog to donation sites.

(I'll be back next Saturday. Sign up in the right-hand sidebar and I'll ping yer inbox. I fixed the feed that was buggered.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Victorian Bushfires memorial service

Today at 11am Sydney time. (Sunday 22nd February 2009.)

Only those directly affected by the bushfires will be allowed into the arena. Registration for entry is closed.

Broadcast live on all national TV stations and Sky from 11am Sydney time. Also on ABC radio.

From The Age

There will be no public parking on site at Rod Laver Arena, public transport is encouraged. Public parking is available (at a
charge) from 8am at the MCG via Gate 3 off Wellington Parade.

Travel on all metropolitan trains, trams, buses and V/Line services will be free between 9am and 3.30pm for people attending the memorial service. Visit for information or call 131 638.

Special trams will operate to and from Rod Laver Arena between the corner of Londsale and Spencer streets and the Swan Street tram reserve. Trams will run every 5 minutes before and after the service.

Rod Laver Arena - You need to have registered your intention to attend this service to ensure space is reserved at the arena. For information phone 1800 136 762.

Gates open 8.30am
Service begins 11am
Service ends 12.30pm

Gates open 10am.
The public may also view the memorial service on a big screen at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Others can watch on screens at Hisense Arena, Federation Square and the Docklands.

Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available at the venue.

Floral arrangements may be placed at the base of flagpoles at Rod Laver Arena.

Donations should be directed to the Australian Red Cross 'Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009' on 1800 811 700 or at

People are asked not to bring candles as no naked flames are permitted inside the stadium.

Ushers will be on hand at the venue to direct the public to seating. Seating cannot be reserved."

Australians honour bushfire victims in day of mourning

"Australians will today observe a national day of mourning to honour the victims of Victoria's bushfires.

Services will be held across the country, with the largest taking place at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena at 11am AEDT.

The Melbourne service is expected to draw up to 100,000 people, and will be broadcast live on ABC1 (Aunty, Channel 2) and ABC Online.

ABC Local Radio will also broadcast the service, with a program to start after the 10.00am (AEDT) news."

If you miss the live broadcast

Go to ABC iview for the podcast.

ABC bushfires articles, photos, maps, videos

ABC podcast & feeds index

Monday, February 16, 2009

Many good people now lie dead*

Today is the anniversary of Ash Wednesday in 1983. Before last weekend's fires in Victoria, Ash Wednesday was the worst bushfire in white Australian history. 75 people died that day.

The body count for the Victorian fires is now up to 189 and counting. The forensics people say not all the bodies will be found or identifiable.

Fire fighters have been sent from New Zealand (ta very much) and America (thank yer Uncle Sam) and a forensics team with experience from the Bali bombings has been sent from Indonesia (terima kasih, hope I got that right).

Gutless bastards

One of the Victorian arsonists has been charged. They found kiddie porn at his place as well as getting him for arson. His solicitor (lawyer) said protective cutody is not impregnable and might not be a safe enough place to put him. Tough shit.

And another kind of gutless bastards nicked bushfire donations.


All week we've watched the footage on TV, the blackened hills and piles of ash at the ends of driveways, tangles of burnt-out cars on the roads, hundreds of homeless people crowded into tent cities.

But the scale of the disaster is hard to grasp. So much destruction, so many people dead. The single thing that brings home the size of the bastard, to me, is the amount of money donated: $90 million.

Dig deep

Donate blood for survivors with burns online at or ring 13 14 95.

National day of mourning

Next Sunday, 22nd of February.

* Said by the PM last weekend, that time he had a little cry in the interview.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Donate Blood

(It's raining here so don't worry about Woy Woy bloggers going up in flames.)

Victoria needs your blood.

Register online or at 13 14 95 to donate blood for bushfire burns victims.

The Red Cross is asking that first time donors register and wait for the call as your blood is needed.

Is your blood healthy enough to donate? Online quiz here

"About 20,000 people have called to give blood in the past three days. Ordinarily, the service would expect 120 donations in that time. Blood stocks are yet to dip below adequate, but the service is reiterating the need to maintain donations over the coming months.

"People's donations will be more valuable in the coming weeks and months for burns victims," the service's spokesman, James Aanensen, said. "Having said that, the response we've had from the public has been extraordinary."" (SMH)

Register online or at 13 14 95 to donate blood for bushfire burns victims.

Beware of bogus charities, donors warned

"[T]he Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned of fraudulent charities taking advantage of the country's generosity. Police in Queensland were investigating two reports of fraudulent collection, offences that carry sentences of five years' jail.

The commission reminded the public of the counterfeit websites and street collections in the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami. "Not only do these scams cost people money, they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes." the commission's chairman," Graeme Samuel, said."

Donate money online to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal or at 1800 811 700

Map of fires stll burning

Police fear 300 dead in the ashes

How to help

Red Cross 1800 811 700 or go to

Salvation Army 137 258 or go to

NAB relief fund 136 622

Register online or at 13 14 95 to donate blood to bushfire burns victims.

To donate through Myer, visit a store's service desk

Donations of clothes and household goods to the Salvation Army, Brotherhood of St Laurence, St Vincent de Paul or the Red Cross

(Be aware they need cash more right now and the telly is saying they have enough clothes and goods.)

Not missing?

The Red Cross needs to tick you off its list. Ring 1800 727 077 and they can tell your family, friends and neighbours you're alive and well.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Deliberately lit

Bushfire Appeal numbers & links

They arrested the bastard who lit the Peats Ridge fire on the Central Coast. And there have been no known deaths in the NSW fires. (For NSW and Victoria see map below.)

In Victoria the police are treating all the fires as crime scenes and they already have some evidence and suspects. The arsonists could be charged with murder. Good. Gutless bastards.

The bad news is the death toll in Victoria is now over 100. That makes it at least 30 more than the previous worst record of bushfire deaths in Australia which was 75 on Ash Wednesday in 1983.

Australia climate map
Wiki Creative Commons

Yesterday's bushfire locations map

One of the reasons we're so scared of bushfires in we don't have that much farmable land. Australia is 80% of the size of mainland America but has a whacking great desert in the middle of it and even in the farmlands the soils are ancient and not very fertile.

Wiki Creative Commons

Map of world climate zones

Australia's size compared to America, the UK and Europe and Asia.

Victorian bushfire info line 1800 240 667 (for infomation on relatives and friends missing in the fires)

1800 811 700 has been swamped and the Red Cross is asking that people donate online instead at

Salvos Bushfire Appeal

"Donations can be made to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief fund by calling 13 Salvos (137258) or by going online to"

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Victorian bushfires

There are no fires in the Woy Woy area and the big fire at Peats Ridge fire is miles away. All we've had here so far is a shitload of smoke the other day.

Pop over to Steve's for a photo of just how smoky it was here.

Victorian Bushfires February 2009

Peats Ridge (dot near Woy Woy) is nothing compared to what's happening in Victoria. The death toll there is now (6.30pm) being reported on the ABC as 65 people. That's more than four times the amount of people we usually lose in a bad weekend of bushfires.

The situation is still pretty unclear, as it always is with disasters, but there are 3 or 4 small towns being reported as almost completely gone.

The worst part is some of the fires were deliberately lit. Australia is a very dry country. Bushfire is one of our most devasting disasters. People who deliberately light fires should turn themselves in.

Bushfire disaster: 'We all grieve with you' (ABC)

Bushfires rage in Victoria (SMH)

Army called in to help battle Victorian bushfires (The Australian)

Marysville destroyed by Victorian bushfires (The Australian)

$10m bushfire relief fund, Army on way (ABC)

"People affected by the Victorian bushfires will be able to apply for payments as part of a $10 million disaster relief fund set up by the Federal Government.

The money will go to people who were seriously injured or hospitalised, and to those who have lost their homes.

Eligible adults will receive $1,000, and an additional $400 payment will be made per child."

Victorian bushfire info line 1800 240 667 (for infomation on relatives and friends missing in the fires)

Salvos Bushfire Appeal

"Donations can be made to The Salvation Army Disaster Relief fund by calling 13 Salvos (137258) or by going online to" (Direct link to donation page)

Bendigo Bank Bushfire Appeal (online donation form)

Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible.