Those of you who have read my last couple of posts may be wondering how things are going down here in Geeveston.
Since I last wrote the bushfires have increased in size and number dramatically. As I write this just one fire, on the central plateau in the middle of the state has over 40,000 hectares burning. If you want to try and visualise that, a standard sportsfield is 1 hectare. The three major areas of the fires are the west coast, central plateau and down here in the southwest. On Friday that fire moved perilously close to Geeveston. Quite a lot of my local friends who live on properties on the outskirts of town elected to leave for safer places. An evacuation centre has been set up in Huonville and some people have gone there. Others are staying with friends or family elsewhere. The town has not been evacuated but the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) said that the conditions were so severe that if homes were threatened, they would not be defendable in the conditions we had. The townships of Geeveston, Port Huon, Castle Forbes Bay, and Waterloo were put on Emergency status.
My house is on the Port Huon side of Geeveston and not directly in the path of the fires but there was considerable danger from embers blown ahead of the main fires. It’s a weatherboard house and there is no way that I would be physically fit enough to defend it and of course, I don’t have a car.
Yesterday morning some friends who live in Franklin came and collected me, Cindy and Polly and we are staying with them until the situation settles down. Last night things were a little calmer and the fire alert for Geeveston had been downgraded to watch and act status. However, despite some showers overnight the weather is still hazardous.
As I was writing this we noticed that the smoke looked thicker and we heard on the radio that the fire had changed directions and was heading towards the townships of Glen Huon, Judbury and Lonnavale. Those towns are now on Emergency status.
Even here at Franklin which is 10km from Geeveston, it is quite smoky and bits of burned leaves and bark have been falling. Here is a sample of what has been dropping on my friends’ garden. We are fine but the subject of “If we had to leave, what would you take?” is under discussion.