More animal stories:
A woman was being winched by a police helicopter to safety from the flames. She was holding her dog. She dropped the dog. She then jumped to the ground from the moving helicopter winch to retrieve her dog. A police ground patrol picked her up in a police car and the helicopter radioed the car to safety.
A horse followed a man into a dam to escape the flames. Both survived. "He follows me everywhere," said the man, straightfaced.
Tragic: an aged couple's car was found packed and ready to go with the keys in the ignition and the dog on the back seat. Their way was barred by a tree crashing over the driveway. They returned to the house, leaving the car door open. When firefighters found the house next morning - razed - the dog was still waiting patiently in the car for two old people who would never come.
A woman, unable to locate her three dogs when evacuating, presumed them dead and visited a vet to register their loss, to be greeted by two of the dogs bandaged but fine. The third was in a shelter.
Amazing rescue story. Two firefighters saved nineteen people - including seven toddlers and babies - who were camping in dense bushland directly in the line of the fires:
Firefighter Brad Sexton tried to cut his way into the scenic reserve -- which was destroyed by the start of the fire that later razed Marysville -- with a bulldozer to rescue the group.
The firefighters herded the families, all campers from Melbourne, into the shallow water, parked their truck to protect them and then drove cars into the water.
They bundled the toddlers and babies, as young as six months, inside before covering them with a fire blanket and hoses.
One firefighter later learned his own house had burned down.
Down here in the safety of the concrete jungle that is the inner city, I haven't seen even a wisp of smoke (unlike Ash Wednesday in 1983 when ash rained on the city for a week and a dust storm turned day to night). But every night this past week or so at about eight o'clock in the evening, a shuddering noise rolls over my house and I step outside to see a red mechanical monster approaching in the sky from the east, its rotor circling idly above and a hose dangling below like a teenager's untied shoelace. It is the water helicopter returning from a day of dousing fires.