Yesterday didn't go quite as planned. We're having a very hot summer, and the awful heat (42C) combined with the wind, especially low humidity and dry undergrowth combined for a catastrophic fire rating. For those of you outside of Australia, this is an official rating; the highest level of a new system instigated after the dreadful fires through Victoria a few years back. It basically means that if a fire breaks out, it's unlikely to be able to be contained, spread quickly, act unpredictably and be ferocious. Even well-prepared and defended properties are unlikely to be able to provide safe shelter. Not good.
A fire was started around 8.30am perhaps 6km from us, in a National Park which comes as close as 1km from our home. And when we received emergency SMS messages on our mobiles and an automated call to our home phone, starting with, "Emergency, emergency...." we decided to heed advice and leave before it might be too late, even though I wasn't overly concerned about the safety of out home. So we grabbed a few essential items and went with the dogs to my parents-in-law for the day.
For me, my current quilt and my machine were essentials - mostly because I really need to get the quilt finished soon, and didn't want to lose more time than necessary! So I made a start on the quilting at their dining table. These smaller trees don't take too long to FMQ around twice (I'm appliqueing them in place at the same time), but the bigger ones take ages!
Luckily the fire was spotted early by fire patrols and heavily attended by crews and aerial attack, and though it did get out of hand for a while, the it was contained by mid afternoon, and the fire threat reduced, so we came home after dinner. luckily it's (relatively) cool today, but will be back up around and into the 40s by mid-week. While people in North America are experiencing the cold and having snow-days, we're likely to have a day or two this week where the school is closed due to catastrophic fire danger!
Because of where we're located (in the lower part of hills surrounding the city) we're at greater risk. While the majority of the 1m+ people in Adelaide who live, work and go to school on the plains are largely unaffected, up here we're in a separate fire-danger zone, with usually higher ratings, and on catastrophic days the schools and various other services close. The risk is a trade-off for the lovely tree-filled suburbs, greater space and, ironically, the slightly cooler temperatures.
Today I'm back to quilting at home, working through the bigger tree appliques. Perhaps I should add some flames into the quilting somewhere...