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Thanks to those who replied to my message re Bushfires approaching my
home last week and also others who I am sure have been thinking of me
even if they did not email.
As I wrote, I live west of the main fires so the terrible
north-westerly winds which are gusting up to 60km/hour as I write do
not threaten me.
Fortunately the southerly change I was anticipating on Sunday was
very light and a huge effort has been put into backburning towards
the western side of the fire. Even though I know it is backburning,
it is hard to relax with huge clouds of smoke to the south and a red
glow in the sky at night. The helicopters are filling their buckets
from a stream in the valley about 1 mile away.
Southwest winds are expected again this evening but the authorities
are saying we are fairly safe. However I feel guilty being more
relaxed knowing the threat being posed to others on the eastern side
of the fires including now within 10 miles of the centre of Sydney
and in the line of other fires to the South and North. Some are
facing real firestorms and there are 20,000 or more firefighters from
all over Australia working at property protection and attempting to
backburn during the night and early morning before the winds pick up.
Ironically the fire which started yesterday afternoon is only a few
kilometres from where my mother and sister are minding my valuable
documents but they live in an 8 storey building in a heavily built up
area which is one of the business districts of Sydney so in no danger.
This fire was definitely started by an arsonist as were many of the
others though not the one threatening me (a lightning strike on
Christmas eve). It makes  one extremely angry that such people exist.
20 have been charged in the last week - mostly teenagers. I think
they will need to be locked up for their own safety the way most
people feel at the moment.
Please continue to keep the people of NSW, Australia in your thoughts

Brian Ralph                             Teacher-Librarian
mailto:bralph@zeta.org.au              St Agnes Campus, Christ Catholic College
http://www.zeta.org.au/~staglib        PO Box 24, Rooty Hill, NSW,
phone:61-2-9675 2422                    Australia
fax:61-2-9832 1927

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