I'm checking out the news of the bush fires with utter dismay. I was introduced to the problem back in the 1980s when I went up to the Blue Mountains on a tour bus as a school boy. I've got a rotten memory - right now I can't find $200 - which I stashed somewhere in my room, but I remember evocative moments very well.
There was a moment, when we were crawling up the mountain, the bus driver sadly gazed at all the beautiful homes nestled amongst the trees and said with a note of incredulousness, "Don't these people learn? Every year in the hot Summer with dry winds this whole place is like a tinderbox. Every year they have to face the prospect of their homes burning down. And it happens. Yet they come back and rebuild."
There's a sweet looking chalet on Mount Buffalo in Victoria, about 3 hours drive from Melbourne city. I wanted to go there last year but everyone else was busy. (No fun going alone). I hope its ok. The fires are close, and several buildings have already been destroyed by fire. If I go back to Melbourne in June, during Winter, I'll try and organize a trip up. These economy in these small towns rely heavily upon tourism.
Right now in the North West corner of Tasmania, entire towns are forced to evacuate due to the rushing bush fires. My Uncle's two homes are near there- in a place called Beauty Bay near St. Helens. He had a quad bypass heart surgery and is building a cute country cottage for his friends to live in when they come and visit. I hope he's ok.