Monday, 5 September 2011

Where there's Smoke

This past week started with four inches of glorious rain.
Which in turn led to every man and his dog in this part of the world dropping matches with the intent of clearing paddocks of spent, dead grass, much accumulated due to the bountiful wet season of 2010/11.  As smoke billowed in every direction, my hands too began to itch, and I set about burning just a small patch of the horse paddock, to provide them with some fresh green pick.

As the flames roared and the wind howled and Matthew drove somewhere between Longreach and Blackall (some six hundred kilometres to my west), I began to wonder if I'd done the right thing. As my small patch of horse paddock fast became the entire horse paddock, the flames then engulfed the bull paddock and I decided the best course of action was to head to town to pick the kids up from tennis lessons.  When it comes to the fight or flight response, I'm all about the fleeing.  Upon our return, I was rather terrified amazed to see the fire had turned, sped past the house, engulfed an old caravan, lit up a tree, in turn melting an overhead power line, an above-ground poly line and was now heading in a southerly direction towards the hills.  I hoped beyond all hopes that the coolness of the night air would be enough to quell the flames.

With power now cut to the house, the flames at least provided a comforting glow.  As I imagined the level of dismay my southern neighbour would experience if fire approached his breeder paddock, I finally succumbed and rang Matthew.  He was less than comforting.  He did drive home, not so much to provide reassurance and support, but more to remind me of the rules of fire-safety and the hazards of careless actions.  For which I was most grateful.  It was just what I needed.

Twenty-four hours and countless tut-tuts from Ergon's finest later, power was returned.  Albeit rather short-lived, with some careless actions from a grazier to our south causing a power-pole to burn out, cutting supply to the entire northern line.  Such carelessness!

I'm sending Matthew over tomorrow to run through the rules and regs of Fire Safety, Prevention & Protection.


  1. You wouldn't be the first farmer to burn down a power pole.....

  2. ah, Fiona you have SUCH a way with words, I have laughed through this whole post and read between the lines on just how your beloved would reminded you about the fire safety rules, and yes, your gratefulness would have been unbounded. Not sure how you managed to forget them until he got home to remind you ;-)

    and I am sure the neighbours will be most appreciative of his advice as well!(and should Matthew read your comments, I mean no disrespect at all, I have a husband that too needs to remind me of the error of my ways!)

    Speaking of Fire Rules and Regs, had a lovely conversation with a most earnest gentlemen from Rural Fire Board today, telling me I must notify Fire Com when there is a fire. It turns out I have been doing Fire Coms job for the past two days (who knew! I am putting in a job application, with a pay rise effective immediatley!) There sure does seem to be a lot of paperwork involved in a fire, so no wonder no one follows the rules!

    Well, now you know the error of your ways, I hope you get some nice fresh pick coming up very soon, so Matthew can bask in how good his paddocks are coming away! ;-)

  3. and geez, my apologies for the super long essay comment. Tell old Nev to have a cuppa tea with this one!

  4. Oh dear! Never mind about Ergon! The horses will thank you when the green pick arrives.

  5. How wonderful to keep your sense of humor through what surely was a scary experience. Here in deciduous forest, fire management is a tool best left to professionals. Jim

  6. hahahahahaha, we've all done it. I am known to my husband as "the wrecker". Over the years I have tried to curb my heavy handedness! I usually never light fires in the wind and have water at the ready. Hubby lit 10 grass fires in a paddock last year which got away. the then 7 year old and I put them out with shovels while he went and got the tractor and plough to cut a break. It was all over by the time he got back!! We felt very superior.

  7. Every time I light a match outside I shudder with fear.. Only relax this time of year when it is all green around us and the nights freezing..The bushfires are very much in my memory..

  8. Fiona that's the problems with fires, seems that you never can control them. I guess you were lucky - still with the rain, at least you will have some great new fodder and luckily still a homestead. Bushfires from way past still give me nightmares.

  9. Hey Sharon, me and Big Matt we say nothing.
    Old nev.

  10. Been there, done that - and don't think I will ever forget it, or live it down. These days I would claim I did it to get that first shot. It's beautiful!!

  11. Smoke everywhere here too. Gosh, it could have been worse. Great read Fiona, you are so witty. Pop those matches up somewhere high!!

  12. Hey there Fiona - just popped by to say g'day and admire your photos. We too have been burning up the proverbial storm!

    I am gathering a posse of bush bloggers together - would like to include your link. Pop on over and let me know if that's okay?


  13. I love the new pictures across the top!

  14. sounds like a good idea i would have :)

    glad it didn't turn out any worse than it did!



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