Some bits kind of relevant to today in Illawarra…

Well, the first is. And I am ashamed to say I had clean forgotten about it. See Black Christmas 2001-2. Helensburgh is on the northern side of Illawarra, north of Otford, up against The Shire and the Royal National Park.

After lunch a dark brown cloud came out of the Appin, Darkes Forest area. At first it blanketed Stanwell Tops, sweeping down into Stanwell Park. As it thickened, the Burgh crew down at the Park realized they were in for a massive bushfire. By the time they got up to the Burgh, the fire had already jumped the F6, the Princes Highway, down past Binners, Symbio, the Hindu Temple and was racing toward Stanwell Tops.

By late afternoon the power was off and the fire had reached the Ampol service Station, Busy Bee and the Mower Shop. It worked through to Mrs Lawson’s industrial area and took out a number of sheds – Helensburgh Metal Fabrications, owned by Michael Brooks, and Kurt Martison’s car restoration business. Rajani Road was next to feel the force of the fire, with one house in Excelsia Avenue totally destroyed.

In the meantime the fire had reached Stanwell Tops, devastating the Tops Convention Centre, and taking out properties owned by the Gilmour, Parker, Host, Saverino, McWilliams, Price, Green and Armstrong families. Mrs Luck’s home next to the Hindu Temple was nearly lost. Trent Luck heard about the fire and tried to get home and protect the property, but was stopped at Waterfall. So he parked the car and with three police chasing him, ran through the bush to the Burgh. "Mosley", owned by Mrs. Loyd, was only just saved. The fire then moved to Otford.

That doco is well worth a look.

On days like today all kinds of things can start a true catastrophe. For example:


Car accident – image from Helensburgh RFS Facebook page.

Not really related, except geographically,  but worth seeing is Alan Bond’s Ghost Tunnel.

Bushfire warning

Tomorrow could be horrendous. Let’s hope not. Get out now, commissioner urges most at risk.

fdr_numbersThe state’s RFS boss has declared Tuesday one of the worst first danger days on record and urged residents in the most high-risk areas – including parts of the Illawarra – to consider getting out tonight.

“This is one of the worst fire danger days on record for NSW,’’ Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said in a statement issued this evening.

“I cannot say it more plainly: the risk is real and potentially deadly. People need to act now.

“If you live in bushland or an isolated area where there is a catastrophic fire danger rating your only option is to leave early. You could move to a built up area, away from bushland, such as the centre of a town.’’

The Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Ranges have a fire danger rating of catastrophic.

The view from my window an hour ago.


Update 11pm

THREE SMS warnings in the past hour from the Rural Fire Service alerting us to tomorrow’s catastrophic conditions.