It is made harder to comprehend by the fact that the authorities believe that many of the fires were not accidents of nature, but caused by arsonists. That shocks me how anyone could be so evil as to deliberately light a fire on an extreme fire risk day knowing that the fire would almost definitely cause the loss of homes and quite likely cause the loss of life. If caught it is likely that the arsonists will not only face arson charges but murder or manslaughter charges too.
I'm still feeling a bit shaken by it all. Anything that smells remotely like smoke is making me nervous at the moment. Houses got burned down within 2 miles, maybe less, from our house. As an Australian, you know that bush fires are a hazard of life here. You just don't ever expect them to come near you, especially if you live in suburbia as we do and as did some of the people who had houses burned down in my town. It could have so easily been us, especially since in wind conditions like occurred on the day burning embers can be carried by the wind and cause new fires some distance from the main front. I never want to feel like I did when we first spotted the very large and ominous looking plume of smoke again, it was such a scary and helpless feeling. At first we thought that the fire was quite close and we might have to evacuate. Trying to quickly work out what to take in the event of an evacuation was overwhelming, It took me a while to work out where I'd put my important documents because I was so frazzled.
While the loss of homes in my town was significant, it is some blessing that the main sports stadium had fire come right up to it but was not burned, nor did the rubbish dump which would have been very hazardous had it burned catch alight despite fire in close proximity. The mood amongst people here seems to be one of shock. You could not buy a newspaper anywhere here this afternoon as people snapped up all the copies in an effort to understand what had just taken place. There's also a lot of sadness because most people know someone who was impacted ether by the fires here or by fires elsewhere in the state.
I want to thank all of you who have prayed. It is wonderful to know that we are joined in prayer by people around the world. Your prayers are still very much needed. A few things you can pray for are
- Many of the fires continue to burn and are a threat to a number of towns. Please pray that the fires would be put out quickly and not do any further damage. Please pray for peoples safety as they evacuate as many people have been killed unsuccessfully trying to outrun the fires.
- Please pray for comfort and provision for the many people who have lost loved ones, homes, possessions and pets. Please pray for peace for those who are still waiting to find out if their loved ones or homes were lost in the fire.
- There are quite a few people being treated for very serious burns, please pray for their healing.
- Authorities are searching for those responsible for lighting the fires. Please pray that they would be able to correctly identify those responsible and bring them to justice.
- Please pray for those responsible for working out where to go from here in regards to the cleanup and rebuilding as the job is massive, complex and will likely provoke a lot of emotions in many.
- Please pray for our firefighters and other emergency services personnel. They have been working very hard in a very difficult environment and it is often quite a traumatic job as many have lost their own houses, have had friends or relatives die or have discovered bodies of the dead in the rubble.
Donate to Red Cross fire relief fund