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Can you believe it?  Just this morning a 19 year old was arrested lighting a
fire in one of our most forested suburbs (which includes the treasures of
the National Botanic Gardens), a 20 year old was arrested in Sydney and
three 15 year olds were caught on the South Coast!  These are not children
not knowing what they are doing!

Over half of the 100+ fires that are causing such devastation have been
deliberately lit, and although there are severe penalties in place, police
say the only way to get a conviction is to catch them in the act.  Yet the
15 year olds are to receive counselling. HELLO?

They are too irresponsible to be sentenced to a few hours with a fire crew
but maybe a stint with those who are trying to save the thousands of
possums, koalas, wombats, echidnas  and all the other little creatures who
have been caught by the blaze might soften them up. Or a few hours helping
residents whose homes have been burned to clean up - although they would
likely be lynched!

Some are saying that those who light the fires are akin to terrorists, if
you consider the heartbreak of families, the amount and cost of the damage
that is caused,  and the resources needed to deal with it and it is sparking
much debate on talkback radio.

And then there are the lowest of the low who have been LOOTING evacuated
homes.  That just beggars belief!

But there is a sliver of good news ... today the sky in Canberra is blue,
the air is still and the temperatures are down although everywhere the smell
of smoke gets up your nose, but it is giving the firefighters a little
respite to do some backburning so that when the heatwave and raging winds
come back on Sunday they have a small headstart.

Sydney and surrounds also have calmer conditions but the smoke is so thick
in some areas that visibility is all but nil and there are many in hospital
with severe breathing difficulties.   Unfortunately though, we are all being
warned that it will get worse before it gets better so .....

In the meantime, I am going to give my new swimmers a test drive.  They are
sleek and black and guaranteed to burn the calories faster altho I suspect
that might have just been a line from the saleswoman  :>}

Enjoy these last days of not-the-best-of-years

Barbara Braxton
Teacher Librarian
Palmerston District Primary School

T. 02 6205 7241
F. 02 6205 7242
E. barbara@austarmetro.com.au
W. http://www.palmdps.act.edu.au

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