Finally – the fires are out

A (not unexpected) deluge of heavy rains has finally put the majority of bushfires in NSW out for good. (Some fires burnt for up to 74 days.)

We only just survived ourselves – phew.  Our entire 65 acres burnt, along with two large sheds, a garage and a garden shed. We saved our house – something 905 families in our region were unable to do.

The impacts will be profound and long-lasting – and one of the greatest challenges our leaders have ever faced.

We’re still at the very beginning of our usual bushfire season here in South East NSW, Australia, but we all know this season is different.

It came sooner. It’s been hotter. The landscape was drier. The dam levels were lower. It’s always been fire-prone. It burnt hotter and further and longer than ever before. Then it poured, then it flooded.

“This year has been one for the record books. We knew it would be bad, but this was huge.” [Jenny – Owner / Operator of Kiah Wilderness Tours]

New Years Eve

The first signs of what we might be in for started to manifest just before lunch on New Years Eve. The sky turned orange, then darkened. Ash began to fall. An eerie prelude to worsening conditions to come.

We spent NYE quietly having a few drinks with some friends who’d been intending to camp for the next week. They just knew they had to cut it short. All four adults and two teenagers were quiet that night. The waiting game had begun.

New Years Day

We woke to hear the news of our mates in Mallacoota – just over the Victorian border. It sounded like something from a horror movie. Talk of a mega fire coming our way.

We attended a public meeting where ALL visitors to the area were asked to please leave. Go home. We need all our resources to protect our own. And so they went. Thousands and thousands – all escaping this monster that was closing in on us all.

4th January 2020

This was what they call “the pinch point“. The bad day. The one they plan for but hope will never come. We are all ready for it.

Those who are staying know their plan. Those who are going kiss their home goodbye and leave it to its own devices. We did the latter. Spent the night watching, waiting, listening, breathing thick smoke. Down at the wharf in Eden with a load of other people. Eerie darkness from about 4pm onwards and a long night of terror.

The wind suddenly changed, as it often does, when the fire was about 3km south of Eden. Our place is 11km south of Eden. We knew then we’d been hit. We didn’t find out till late the next day that our house was “still standing”. It was another day before we could see for ourselves.

Tours will resume in Spring

National Parks advise that the Park was severely impacted. Their staff has worked tirelessly to make safe the campgrounds at Saltwater Creek and Bittangabee. And we are told that they protected Green Cape and it escaped unscathed. Thank Goodness.

Boyd’s Tower was severely impacted with absolutely every small tree around it razed to the ground. This old thing is almost indestructible. Everything around it has gone – but it remains standing tall to beckon our walkers back. A beacon of hope and new beginnings. Being assessed now for repair. 

Please give us time to update our pages – it’s been a roller coaster. Thanks for all the beautiful messages and support.

Cheers, Jen & Arthur


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