A little perspective for my international pals or those not so familiar with Australian geography regarding the fires:
A few days ago it was 40'c+ and today it is 14'c and raining. I'm rugged up with extra layers on, it feels like the middle of winter and as if I have the flu. It is summer.
There's also a thick layer of smoke across the town and cars are driving slowly with their headlights on in the middle of the day. I'm currently in Wonthaggi, Victoria (google it) 250km (155miles) from the nearest fires in East Gippsland, the air quality & visibility is very poor today. Normally I can see across the town and farms, but today I can't see 3 streets away.
I don't get asthma but today feels like it. I'm short of breath, I'm coughing, my eyes & throat are itchy and breathing is bad. I saw in the news that smoke from the Australian fires had reached as far as New Zealand and that Canberra has had the worst air quality in the world! I've been to China and India and have seen how bad pollution can be. But the enormity of it didn't sink in until I woke up today to feel it directly that I realise just how far reaching the effects of these fires truly are. I can only imagine how bad it must be to be in the midst of it all. I don't watch the news on TV but yesterday everyone at home was gathered around the TV when the news was on as if it was the moon landing. Only it wasn't a celebration, it was sombre. Almost as if war had broken out and we were awaiting updates. I honestly can't remember a time in my life when I felt like we all went silent to hear what was being said. Forgetting for a moment that WW3 maybe starting and setting aside Australian politics for a second, as well as the numbers - I don't need to include statistics here, because at the time of writing, the fires are still burning and the effects will continue to grow. Millions of hectares across the country burnt, millions of animals dead, lives & homes lost - it's overwhelming to see how much community support there has been both locally and internationally. Truckloads of hay being sent for livestock, fundraisers of all sorts and donations have been pouring in from far and wide, it truly is heart-warming. It will get worse before it gets better. There will be ongoing health problems and entire towns and communities will need to rebuild. If you can help in any way, please do what you can and if you live locally or are planning a holiday, perhaps consider visiting these places once they're back up and running to show a bit of love. In the meantime, spare a thought for those who've lost their homes and for the amazing firefighters and volunteers.
These people are real heroes.
Photos taken from my hometown. Mon Jan 6 2020