Australia is burning. I guess many of you have seen pictures, videos, news. Australia of course is our near neighbour, just across the Tasman. Close enough that in certain conditions Australian dust, smoke and ash reach us here in New Zealand. There is so much going on that I can’t go into much detail. I’ll just say there’s been lives lost, enormous areas of land burnt or under threat, many people have lost their homes, unthinkable consequences for native fauna and flora.
Firefighting is largely dependent on VOLUNTEER firefighters. There are big issues around availability of volunteer firefighters (many are employed and their time off is limited), funding for firefighting, Australian dependence on fossil fuels, the reluctance of politicians to acknowledge and plan for climate change. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is feeling the heat for heading to Hawaii for a family holiday as the fires worsened. When two firefighters lost their lives he bowed to pressure and returned early from holiday.
This news presentation by the BBC is excellent and much praised by Australians on Twitter: Australian bushfire anger explained
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has returned early from holiday as the country continues to battle a major bushfire crisis.
Ros Atkins, presenter of Outside Source on BBC World News, explains how the fires, a heatwave and drought have led to rising public anger in Australia.
Lenore Taylor, Guardian Australia’s editor, this weekend published a direct response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Prime minister, you need a credible climate policy. It’s too dangerous to keep pretending you have one.
Ground Zero Today : WP blog-post by Steve Harrison who survived a fire storm by jumping into a “makeshift Raku kiln”, big enough to lay down in, that he’d made the day before. Balmoral, NSW, Australia. Posted the same day as the fire, 21 Dec 2019.
Firefighting – Kaikorai, Dunedin, New Zealand – Feb 2018
At this time we were renting a house in Kaikorai, Dunedin. I was at home and Nigel was returning to the city from a trip away. He couldn’t get home because of a roadblock but was able to take these photos. I was at home with a grandstand view of the helicopters but then realised it was getting big, becoming frightened as more helicopters joined the action and I began to worry about whether our home might be under threat. In the end it didn’t come near our house.
Text by Liz, photos by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2019)