Stinky Smoke & Burny Bits

Last week (Saturday 14th April) a big bushfire started at a place called Holsworthy and quickly got out of control and spread over a very large area. Even though this was a long way from my big people-kennel in the beginning, the really strong wind blew it closer and closer. For most of the time it was just me and Mum home alone, because Dad and Man-brother3 were away racing Dad’s little car in something called Targa Tasmania, Man-brother4 was away at various gatherings for most of the weekend and Man-brothers1 & 2 don’t live here in the big people-kennel anymore.

Mum took some photos of the smoke that made the sun look like a little red dot and of the scary orange glow at night as the fire got bigger instead of smaller.

I was a Very Brave Dog and helped Mum as she brought in all the outdoor furniture that might burn — including my outside bed and mattresses from my kennel — and put it all inside the people-kennel (where I got to sleep for quite a few nights) then put many buckets of water on the 3 verandahs and under the carport. I checked that the water was OK by drinking some of it from each of the buckets as I was very thirsty from the exercise I was getting by following Mum everywhere and from the stinky smoke in the air. Mum also filled two huge green garbage bins with water — one in the backyard and one in the front yard.

On Sunday morning (15th) Mum got the noisy fire-hose-pump-thing out and when Man-brother4 eventually came home they got it all set up and working — one hose for the backyard and another one that reached around to the front yard all ready to go. The pump was primed with fresh water from the garbage bin ready to have the feeder hose dropped into the saltwater swimming pool when and IF it became necessary (which luckily it didn’t).

When they were testing the noisy-pump-thing I tried chasing the water as it squirted out of the big hose but Mum aimed it too high for me to reach. It squirts a lot harder than a garden hose and could hurt me but I still jumped and snapped at it anyway — a dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do. Mum tried to photograph me as I jumped but she didn’t time it very well. This “about to jump” photo is the only one that wasn’t too blurry. 😦


After that was all done I went back to watching the helicopters that were dropping water on the fires.

On Monday 16th there were water-bombing planes flying over as well as helicopters. The first time a plane flew over it was very noisy and very close over the top of our people-kennel before it circled around and flew even lower along the river valley at the bottom of our street. Unfortunately Mum didn’t have her camera with her when that happened. Mum said our river must have been too small for them to fly onto and pick up water so they had to do that further away near Como and Blakehurst on the Georges River. The wind got even stronger and the planes were flying over much more frequently in the afternoon, though not quite as close to my backyard.

Here’s a video of the plane picking up water on the Georges River…

On Monday when the sun set Mum took some photos of the smoke and the pretty sky colours.

The next morning (Tuesday 17th) the fire was finally listed as “Being Controlled”. The air outside smelled kind of OK so Mum took me for walkies. We could see lots of burnt leaves and bits of burnt twigs and ash all over the ground that the wind had blown here from the fire during the last few days. If they were still burning when they landed they could have started a fire here too — that’s why Mum had taken my bed and kennel mattresses inside plus all the chairs, and had buckets of water ready. She had also swept up lots of dry leaves from around our people-kennel. A spot fire caused by burning embers did start a couple of days ago only 1 km from my people-kennel, and part of the main fire front got to about 3 km away from us — waaaay to close for comfort. By about 6:30pm the fire was listed as “Under Control”, which was a Very Good Thing, though it was not yet completely out so people still had to be vigilant.

Because of all the stinky smoke and burny bits in the air I got to sleep inside the big people-kennel for quite a few nights before Mum decided it was OK to put my bed back on the verandah and let me sleep outside again. I do like sleeping inside the people-kennel but I also love being outside where I can keep an eye on what’s happening in my backyard.

One week later and the fire is still not totally extinguished and is now at patrol status. I’m so happy the fire did not get reeeally close to our people-kennel, thanks to the hard work of lots of volunteers from various rural fire brigades, fire and rescue organisations and the general community.

…and I hope they find the Very Bad Person/People who deliberately started this fire!

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