[gardeners] Wildfires Update Many thanks

Marc Winterburn (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 24 Dec 2002 00:59:40 +0800

Thanks to all our friends,
, I have had nothing but positives and encouragement from all of my chilli
friends worldwide. The dogs are fine and there is absolutely nothing left
for the snakes to live in as the fire was so hot. The chillies, cycads and
palms were burnt so completely even the woodchips and manure in the potting
mix burnt leaving nothing but small cones of sand. The daytime temperature
on the day of the fire was 45+ degrees C about 120F on your scale with
howling northeasterly winds , which come in from the desert. Not much chance
to avoid anything. I have never heard anything like the noise I heard as the
wall of flame approached me. It was about 100 feet tall and leaping from
treetop to treetop at an incredible speed. I at first thought that I could
stay there and fight it with my garden hose.  Huh what a joke. As I heard
what sounded like a 747 jet airplane roaring at me and felt the heat my legs
hardly touched the ground. I am lucky that I managed to outrun the flames
and jump into my truck and get. I moved about 400 yards away to the side of
the fire and watched my hothouse and shade house erupt. I was positive that
my house and shed had gone but a water bomber flew in and dumped a load. But
the bravest thing was that through it all from where I stood through the
thick smoke and hellish flames I could see the blue and red flashing lights
of the fire truck as the firefighters stayed next to my house  and kept my
house from burning. I owe those guys a huge debt and I dont even know who
they were or where they were from. There were units from as far away as 200
miles so all I can do is write a general thankyou in our state newspaper and
hope they know who I am talking about.
We were insured for the outside fixtures and fittings, Tools irrigation,
pumps, motors , toys, etc.etc. What we weren't able to insure ourselves for
was for the plants and pots and fertiliser and plants in the ground, those
things total way more to insure than we could afford. In total a our
uninsurable losses total something in the vicinity of $300,000-400,000
Aussie Dollars.We have to have a private go at the power company whose lines
crossed in the high winds and caused a flash to the ground and started the
fire. There were independent witnesses and it has happened twice before in
the last couple of years with far less drastic results but they have still
failed to fix it by simply putting spacers in,
I have already started rebuilding and re-reticulating and even a little bit
of replanting.
I have friends local who have already given me a few seed and I had managed
to keep a few aside.
I also had 3 trays that were planted last week that hadn't germinated by the
time if the fire but have started coming up since,
The kids think that it is an adventure. Now we have christmas day to get
through as we have the family coming for Christmas dinner . About 30 people.
Roast Turkey, Pork, and Beef, Roast vegetables and Christmas Pudding, also
copious amounts of west Australian cabernet sauvignon to drown out the
I am sorry to all of the friends worldwide who were expecting seeds as I may
not have a crop this year or at least not as many as I expected to have
ready. I will still try to fulfill my end of the bargain. I feel terrible
abut that.
Many thanks again to all who have offered cheer, seeds , condolences and
help , it is all so much appreciated that I cannot begin to express my
gratitude. Bye for now and I will update again after Christmas.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all
Kindest Regards
Marc, Paula, Dylan, Martin, Connor and Thomas, (and the dogs Elsie-Olive and
P.O. Box 216
Gingin 6503
Western Australia.
Dial 0 only in Australia
+61 (0) 8 9575 1012
Mobile (0) 427 248 766

----- Original Message -----
From: Margaret Lauterbach <melauter@earthlink.net>
To: Marc Winterburn <marcw@iinet.net.au>
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2002 9:28 PM
Subject: Re: [gardeners] Wildfires

> Marc, we call such fires "range fires."  Friends southwest of Boise were
> surrounded by blackened space when they returned home after a fire.  Their
> house and yard were saved, but all around was black.  They had four golden
> retriever dogs, who were in shock because "home" didn't look the same or
> smell the same.  No little critters rustling in the sagebrush.  One went
> berserk and bit the male owner so severely he had to have stitches.  They
> had him euthanized.  Keep an eye on your dogs...
> If the fire went through fast enough, you might get the cycads and palms
> back.  Forest fires often leave live trees behind.  In trying to paint a
> nicer picture on this, it may have roasted most of those poisonous snakes,
> unless they inhabit underground dens.  I will get to my chile seeds
> probably Christmas day.  BTW, George Shirley, listowner of Gardeners, went
> on another list and asked for donations of chile seeds that he'll send to
> you.  I'm thankful you, your wife and children are safe.  I hope your dogs
> adjust okay.  Margaret Lauterbach
> >My wife and children are all safe, as are the dogs but we lost our vege
> >gardens and 40 hens and about 70 chickens.
> >I had just the day before finished laying 200 meters of new 2" piping
> >in a trench to irrigate my chilli patches and hadn't got to fill the
> >in. Its no more.