Journal of a Wildfire Volunteer - Feb 1
Feb 1: SATURDAY
Woke up in Mogo, Australia, a little disoriented. Sounded like lions roaring in the distance. Turns out, lions were roaring in the distance lol…. @MogoWildlifePark has primates, zebras, rhinos, giraffes, meerkats, red pandas, tigers, and, lions! Not what I was expecting in a sweet little country town :)
Temperature @ 9am: 36C / 96F
After a quick coffee, Bec, Charlie Dog and I jumped into Bec’s trusty Subaru to meet the group of volunteers that has been driving down from Sydney and providing support and relief to local residents for the past three weekends. At the campground picnic table, jobs were quickly assigned based on residents’ needs / volunteers’ abilities, and we parted ways.
Temperature @ 10am : 38C / 100F
Over today and tomorrow, the volunteers will:
- Build a roof, drainage system, and water tank connection so resident Keith could have fresh water, drop off a generator and plumbed it into his new donated water tank.
- Clear piles of debris from David’s house, cleaned up his garden, chopped up and removed downed trees, cleared away burnt gazebo.
- Build a solid roof over Katy’s temporary home (a shipping container).
- Cleaned up Wally’s whole yard, removing debris.
Meanwhile, Bec, Charlie, and I drove around to check on other residents - make sure they had water, power, and shelter, and just to say a friendly hello so they know they are not forgotten. Ken, one of the local residents in his 70s, is a volunteer firefighter. He's divided his time between protecting his property (he saved half of it) and volunteering, and shows no signs of stopping (though he was forced into hospital one day for smoke inhalation)... and still has a smile on his face. #Legend
Temperature @ 2pm: 47C / 116F
Everyone in the area was extremely worried today, as the fires around nearby Moruya town (15min away) were increasing in intensity and were beginning to create #pyrocumulus clouds… which would have added dangerous winds on top of already soaring temperatures. Not to mention trees are still smoldering and there are embers everywhere… Thankfully, the strong westerly winds didn’t arrive as expected, and Moruya town was spared. 🙏
Bec and I had a hose/sprinkler water fight with her 6yr old neighbor Sam, which was super fun, highly recommended, and a good finish to a stressful day.