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  • Another day watching and waiting, there are now more than 130 fires burning across eastern Australia. This summer seems to be the worst for so many years. Records have been broken. Australia had its hottest ever day the other day. The weather bureau had to invent new colours for the weather maps to chart temperatures between 50 and 55˚C. All of us seem to live in a fire zone as the bush creeps into our towns and cities, bringing the beauty and the birds but sometimes fear.

    Our neighbours have called meetings. What will you do? Can you help me with my animals? Are there elderly people who will need a hand? It is good to know that people are caring for those that may need help.

    There is a photo in my mind that was taken in Tasmania of a grandmother sheltering under the wharf, waist deep in water with her four grandchildren, with the fire raging in the background, heading towards them. All I can think is who takes a photo in that sort of situation. I would be worrying about dying, worrying about the children, hoping that I was doing the right thing. But now we have a wonderful record of the effect the fire had on some of the people in that small Tasmanian community. Perhaps the photographer thought that there was nothing else he could do so he may as well record the moment and add to history. Perhaps it was his mobile phone that he used and he had that to try and call for help, and when he got no reception he took a photo instead.

    It makes me think about what I would be holding above the water as I was escaping from the fires? Would it be my diaries, my external hard drive with all my photos, my daughter’s paintings, my books, or the bones and nests and skulls of animals I have collected over the years (strange person that I am)….The list goes on and on but in reality I think at a time of danger I would probably not think of anything except getting out safely with my family (and maybe grab the hard drive on the way out, and perhaps the camera…)!

    To see the Tasmanian photo go to
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