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Hi folks
For those of you who have been following my messages over the quiet season
(on the list, anyway) and who read the message from Brian Ralph about the
preparations he was making - the fires raced up the valleys behind his home
yesterday and today's news leads me to believe that while everyone in the
village/town has been evacuated the homes were saved.  Calmer weather today
but more extremes expected on Sunday - and on Monday we will have two more
of those giant helicopter numbers.

However, I can guarantee that Brian is not the only one of our colleagues
who have been affected - many of them live in the areas that have been
devastated up and down the state.

For the many of you who have asked me how you can contribute to some fund
for the wildlife, there is a brilliant band of volunteers here called
WIRES - Wildlife Information and Rescue Service - who can always do with a
bit extra.  There is a website at http://www.wires.au.com/  and you can
become a Friend of Wires for an annual membership of about $US20  or you can
donate directly (http://www.wires.au.com/help/donate.htm) or they have a few
things in their online shop.

Apart from those creatures that have been killed or injured (of which there
must be thousands) it is the destruction of their habitat that is really
causing concern, particularly because the fires are so widespread that there
is no nearby refuge now.

It is a sad and sorry scene here with the homes that have been lost just the
visible part of the economic losses.  This is the peak holiday season but
the fires have ravaged the very areas where people go for their ASH and it
is the summer tourist trade that helps all those little businesses get
through the quiet winter period. Insurance companies are putting the losses
at about $70 000 000 and climbing but I don't think that includes the less
visible damages.

Not the greatest start to a new year ...

Kia ora

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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