February 10, 2009
The firestorm in Victoria. Clearly we would not wish such devastation upon ourselves, and seeing it happen so swiftly to others is both terrifying and a wake-up call. Now my first thought is that we should wait a decent period of time before digging into the whys and wherefores, but looking at some footage from the scene my first thought was not the sympathy I “should” have, rather it was “don’t build on top of a ridgeline with forest below, especially so when a prevailing summer wind will drive a fire towards you”. Too late now, but my sadness for those now suffering is tinged with a notion – why do we allow people to take such risks? We’ll have to wait for the analysis to be sure but in some cases it looked like a combination of freakish weather and poorly sited housing. It may be that in such weather no amount of risk mitigation would have helped – but I do hope that some good comes of this tragedy, that we learn from it and take action to avoid repeating any mistakes.