Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

11.2.09

Animals, etc.

Everyone in the whole world has seen that koala picture so it was probably unnecessary to post a link to it yesterday. What everyone might not have seen was the CFA officer's report of how the koala not only drank three entire bottles of water as he held them to its mouth - they usually drink very little at all - but it also reached out with its front paw and grasped the CFA officer by the hand. The koala took the officer's hand.

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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.

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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.

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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.

7 comments:

Dr. Alice said...

I'm glad you posted the koala picture... this is the only place I've seen it. These are heartbreaking stories.

From what I have read, it's going to be essential from now on to cut way, way back on the vegetation surrounding houses in the area... no matter what the local environmentalists' wishes are. This is what you get when you leave things "natural."

kitchen hand said...

Dr. A, the sad part is that many of those lost were caught up in the new mantra of the noble savage garden of eden; things will definitely change. Ironically, drastic measure were called for after the 1939 fires - including bunkers, some of which probably remain below the earth, filled in and long-forgotten.

Dr. Alice said...

Ironically, drastic measures were called for after the 1939 fires - including bunkers, some of which probably remain below the earth, filled in and long-forgotten.

Dear God. What a killer irony that would be. It sort of reminds me of a house in the Malibu area here, built bunker-like of cinderblock and dug deep into the ground, that was the only house to survive the serious Malibu fires some ten or 12 years ago.

Janis Gore said...

Well, one thing like Katrina, you're half a world away.

We can offer prayers and good thoughts from here. I surely can't tell you how many pints of water to feed a koala.

kitchen hand said...

Prayers and thoughts will suffice in the lack of koala expertise, Janis. (They usually scratch and bite, by the way, which is why that outstretched paw was so poignant.)

kimbofo said...

That picture and video of the koala really touched me. Then I found out the firefighter was from Mirboo North. And then I discovered my dad knows him and they were both on the same CFA strike team fighting the fires in Mirboo North/Boolarra shortly before this video was taken. Small world.

kitchen hand said...

Amazing, Kimbofo. The koala probably knows all of them!