I wasn’t prepared for bushfires this menacing. Even now, Australia doesn’t have a plan.

From USA Today, 14 January 2010:

We have evacuated from our house in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, twice already in Australia’s bushfire season, and it’s not even halfway through summer. After the second time, just a few weeks ago in December, we returned to a scorched block of land.

The fire came so close, just 16 yards from the edge of the house. The neighbor who helped defend it had texted me pictures as the fire burned past, but even that doesn’t prepare you for the shock of seeing lush green turned to smoking black, of seeing just how close you were to your life being turned upside down.

And we were the lucky ones. All around Australia, people are losing so much more: houses, businesses, farms, animals and even their lives or loved ones. It’s why our fire survival plan is now taped to the back of the office door: two typed pages of paper that could one day, probably soon, make the difference between life and death. Read more.

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