Many friends and readers have written to ask if we’ve survived the massive Aussie bushfires. The good news is that beautiful little Angaston has so far escaped unscathed. But the fires are the nation’s biggest story and we suffer a moment’s extreme discomfort each time they set off the Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. practice fire alarm.
We jump up and briefly consider throwing everything in the car before evacuating. Luckily, the alarms always wind down pretty quickly and we realize it was just another test.
Neighbor John came over the other night to give us his preferred evacuation route. Everyone is supposed to gather at the local cricket oval, which is only about 100 yards from John’s house, but he’s analyzed the situation very carefully and determined that it won’t be safe because it’s surrounded by far too many towering pines and gum trees.
His preferred escape route takes us the opposite direction to a much safer oval in Stockwell.
Australia’s a huge country — the same size as the United States — and most of the devastating fires you see on TV are nearly 1000 miles away. They’re tragic, but unlikely to impact us here. There’s another small but stubborn fire blazing through the Adelaide Hills,which is about fifty miles away.
Finally, there is one absolutely devastating fire roaring across Kangaroo Island, which sits about 120 miles from here and just ten miles offshore. Thousands of kangaroos and koalas have already been killed and injured. Hundreds of thousands of acres of pastures, scrub brush, and forest land — plus nearly 60 homes — have been destroyed.
It’s a tragic story that plays out each evening on the nightly news.
Jamie wants to volunteer at a koala/kangaroo rescue facility, but she can’t do that until she finds out if that would violate the terms of our visitors’ visas.