Saturday, November 21, 2009

Meanwhile, back home...

"It has never been this hot, dry and windy in combination ever before," Premier Nathan Rees told reporters on Saturday.

There is no immediate threat to lives or property from 66 fires burning across NSW however, "unprecedented conditions" call for extreme vigilance, the premier says.

On Friday there were more than 120 fires across the state so the firefighters have done a huge job to halve the number.

No chance for them to relax though:

Sydney Forecast

Tomorrow 41°C

Wind NNW 26km/h

Plus dry lightning strikes. The Blue Mountains National Park, visited by around 3 million tourists a year and covering over half a million acres, was closed because of fires lit by lightning strikes on Friday.A total ban on open fires was declared in New South Wales.

The new level of 'Catastrophic' fire warning is in place for towns in large areas of western NSW.

The new highest category category was introduced after Black Saturday, when 173 people died in February's fires around Melbourne.

'Catastrophic' level is: Even specially constructed and actively defended homes may not provide shelter. Safest to leave the night before the expected fire. Under no circumstances will it be safe to stay and defend the home.

For months the authorities have been warning that this could well be the worst fire season ever and it's looking ominously as though they could be right.

But it isn't just bushfires they have to worry about.

A story from our local paper this week, close to our home an hour north of Sydney:

ANASTASIA Stead lived through many people’s worst nightmare at her Glenning Valley home on Sunday night.

Reaching out to turn off her bedlight, the girl, 14, was confronted by a 2m snake curled around her alarm clock.

The agitated adult diamond python hissed at Anastasia, who yelled to her mother for help.

I'd have yelled too.

A snake wrangler from WIRES, our wildlife rescue organisation, came and removed it...

Photo: Express Advocate

Never a dull moment in the sunburnt country.

NSW faces unprecedented conditions.

Snake alarm.

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