Before the storm

Like millions of other Victorians, today I received a text message from the police.  It read:

Extreme weather in Vic expected Mon night & Tues.  High wind & fire risk.  Listen to  Local ABC Radio for emergency updates. Do not reply to this msg. End.

It is a very still evening, just as it was before the Saturday of the bushfires a few weeks ago. It’s hard to believe that the wind is going to spring up at about midnight tonight, and blow all day tomorrow until it changes direction at about 5.00 p.m.  There are large bushfires still burning from three weeks ago which, although contained, could well jump containment lines and take off again- to say nothing of any new fires that might spring up.  I think of my parklands, the plantings along our watercourses and rivers – we are all so very, very dry.

A friend of mine at choir tonight lives in Hurstbridge, surrounded by bush, with only one road in and out.  “Keep safe” we say as she leaves, knowing that she could be plunged into a nightmare tomorrow- or maybe not.  Leave early; activate your bushfire plans we are warned; prepare for gale force winds we are advised.

We are uneasy.

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