Beating Mother Nature – bushfires in Perth

My humble website has been quiet the last few days, not because of laziness on my part, although I do have a mind to be lazy sometimes, but primarily because my time has been interrupted by some destructive bushfires in Perth, Western Australia, the city in which I live.

No, I haven’t been fighting the fires, I doubt whether I am really that brave, but I have been reporting on them for my other job at Radio 6PR, a Perth talk station that has done a brilliant job of reporting on the bushfires constantly for the past few days.

The West Australian bush is very dry this year due to a lack of the, normally regular, winter rains and some fierce easterly winds which howl straight off the desert and fan the flames.

There have been two main areas that have been badly affected by the fires.  In the Swan Valley, a premier wine growing region, and in the hills above the valley, the fires have been burning for a few days with some damage to property but, fortunately, no loss of human life.

Closer to where I live, in the pretty hill suburbs of Roleystone and Kelmscott, the fires have been more destructive, and over 50 homes have been destroyed, fortunately without loss of life.    

Friends of mine have had to be evacuated from their homes.  Their homes are still standing, but have some smoke and water damage, and they consider themselves fortunate because they still have their possessions and it will be relatively easy for them to get back to a normal life when it is all over.

I did witness for myself, firsthand, just how destructive bushfires can be as I was in the area where they first started at about the time they did start, and I saw just how quickly the fires spread, and how destructive they could be.  In the course of my other job, I have spoken to people who lost everything in the fires, and have been amazed at their stoicism as they prepare to start all over again to rebuild their lives.

So what does all this have to do with travel?  Well, the areas that have been affected by the fires are places that I take visitors to Perth because they are very pretty.  But this is the nature of the Australian bush.  It needs fire to re-generate, and whilst the loss of property is tragic, in about two years time, if we have good winter rains, new visitors will not realise that these areas have seen recent raging fires go through them.

The local attitudes towards these fires also illustrate just why Australia is a nation that has been built into a major trading nation and first world country rather easily.  We cope pretty easily with upheaval and disappointment, and rebuild pretty quickly to get on with life.

On the other side of the country we’ve had the reverse: massive floods and a dangerous cyclone – these places too will be rebuilt relatively quickly, and life will be lived again.

If you want to visit a place where the locals are friendly, but have a positive attitude towards life, head to Australia.  If you’re lucky some of it may rub off on you.

1 comment to Beating Mother Nature – bushfires in Perth

  • John Ross

    I live in NSW and this year we seemed to have been spared as we watched our neighbour states get flooded, bashed and burnt. But it doesn’t matter where you live and who is affected, the Aussie spirit is to always help a mate who is in need.

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