Voluntary Evacuation

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Note: We have now since returned home, and did so on the 24th of Oct. House is fine, no sign of fire and we are all safe. I thank you all for checking up on me and my family and for following us in this stressful situation. Love to you all.

Today is the day fire fighters have predicted will be hell. Extreme weather was predicted for the Blue Mountains. Forecasters said we would have a hot day, with 40-50km winds with 80-100km wind gusts. Not good as this is no help putting out the fires. At 6am this morning the wind gusts were over 70km per hour and had knocked me over a couple of times while packing up.

We did have some rain yesterday but it was not enough and did not help the effort to rid us all of the fires. More rain was to come after 11pm last night. A thunderstorm was here, will it give us more rain? No! It lasted 15mins and then ended. Oh well I think I thought the idea of pouring rain might happen, but the weather experts said no. I was hoping they were wrong. Not to be.

Before the thunderstorm I attended the Katoomba community meeting about the fires, and was captured on television looking a bit vague and out of it. If you did see me I was looking at the big screen and concentrating on the person speaking. The meeting did not really help me much as the fire fighters cannot tell if there will be a fire where you are, it might happen or it could not. It really depends on the weather. Luck of the gods type thing.

So no answers here… The 2nd in charge of Katoomba/Leura Brigade asked the group several questions:

If you stayed would you be able to do the following?

  • If an ember was in your roof, would you be able to climb up in the roof and put it out?
  • Would you be able to defend your property?
  • Would you cope with 35 plus degree heat, and having to wear heavy clothing to protect yourself from the fire? (The firefighters said that if you pant while jogging in 35 degree heat with full clothes on, you will not cope)
  • Could you put all embers out on walls, windows, roof, and elsewhere?
  • Would you be able to risk your loved ones and yourself to protect your house?

One question I thought of is, “How do I defend the house while looking after two kids?” “How do I manage to do things on my own?” My hubby is in Brisbane on business and my house guest will be at work. So it will just be me and the kids.

I answered no to a lot of these questions. So I thought my decision was made. We will leave the house and make our way down the mountain. I was packing things since Monday but thought it might not eventuate in leaving.

I got up early and the kids and I hit the road and went to a relatives for a couple of nights. I am glad we are safe and we made the decision. As I write this Springwood and Faulconbridge have been emergency warnings and I think they have been asked to evacuate.

Me and the girls leaving the house. Car packed up and ready to leave.

Me and the girls leaving the house. Car packed up and ready to leave.

Some articles from the Herald:

This time last year. 12th of October 2012

This time last year. 12th of October 2012

I was amazed at how easy it is to realise what items are more important than others. What was the criteria to come in the car? Well things that we needed and could not live without and things that cannot be replaced. Most of the items were documents, photos and things that the kids have done in their five years on this planet. I packed their stuff that I got from hospital when I had them, and also made sure that we had birth certificates and the like. The other major thing that we packed in the car was ourselves.

The kids and I are now waiting for dinner and they are giggling in their pre dinner bath. I am tired and have a headache but think that is due to the extra stress and long day.

Have you had to pack up in an emergency? What did you take with you? Did you find it a bit stressful leaving? I did have a bit of a cry on the M4 at one stage but snapped out of it for the good of the kids.

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