Unless you have been living on another planet for the last three months, it is impossible to have missed the news of the months-long devastating bush fires that have devastated parts of Victoria and New South Wales in Australia. It is heart-breaking to read of the desperately tragic loss of animals who perished in the fire, with up to 30% of the entire Koala population believed to have died and over half a billion animals killed in Victoria alone. Of course, it is easy to get swept along in the destruction caused to animals, plants, and trees, but one must also remember that 28 people have been killed, including a number of heroic firefighters who perished while trying to save the lives of people and animals.
After four months, the fires are still raging, but like a Phoenix from the flames, those areas that were hit early on are already showing encouraging signs of recovery. Mother nature really is quite remarkable and incredibly resilient.
Many of the photos show shoots sprouting from the trunks of established trees that a few weeks before would have looked completely dead. In areas where there were heavy undergrowth and a canopy of leaves that stopped light reaching the ground, these areas have burst into life for the first time in many, many years. In fact, there are certain seeds that won’t actually open unless there is sufficient heat from a fire, like the Banksia.
Bush fires are an annual occurrence in Australia, but never on the scale that has currently been witnessed. They are invariably started by lightning and may wipe out a few hundred acres each time, but this year they have been particularly devastating after a very long period of drought and unusually strong winds of up to 80 mph that have fanned the flames and enabled the fires to spread at the remarkable rate of 14 mph. To give you an idea of how fast you would have to run to escape such a fire, 14 mph is the same speed as a world-class athlete runs the 1500m – now that’s scarily fast!