Whether it is those that volunteer to fight the fires, those that make sandwiches to feed them, somebody donating a generator or simply giving money to the red cross, people seem to implicitly know how they can best help. And they do.
I grew up on a farm surrounded by bushland and as a teenager fighting fires seemed to be an almost regular event as we lent a hand to help neighbours contain fire. On one occasion in the midst of bushland I turned to retreat from a fire that was too hot to fight only to find myself surrounded by fire. Luckily the fire behind me was not yet hot enough to prevent retreat and I ended the day with nothing more than a few minor burns. Even knowing first hand that fire can move quickly and how easily miscalculations can put your life in peril I am still, like most people, stunned by the carnage in Victoria.
These fires were apparantly so fierce that from hundreds of metres away the heat could be over 1000 degrees Celcius. The heat could kill you long before the smoke or flames even made a mark. Within minutes of the first sign of a fire the front could be apon you. In short some people simply never stood a chance.
There are already those that are blaming climate change for these fires. Others think restrictions on clearing of vegetation had a role. I don’t pretend to know the reasons why upward of possibly 300 people have lost their lives. No doubt as the fires come under control and people begin to rebuild their lives lots of questions need to be asked.