15 January, 2013

Fire! Fire!

Well, it's certainly summer. At around 2:30pm this afternoon, the sun was shining, the cyclists were out, along with the waterskiiers and the golfers at Barwon Valley and over everything was a thick pall of smoke.
My first hint that something was up came when I looked out my south-facing back window to see great clouds of smoke billowing up from the South Geelong area. A quick check of CFA website informed me that there were several small grassfires burning along the banks of the Barwon between Breakwater Bridge and the boat ramp in town.
Now that I had to see! (Assuming it was safe to do so.) After a quick trip to the backyard to snap a few photos, I headed down to the river.
Smoke over South Geelong

As far as I could tell, all the action seemed to be happening on the Belmont side of the river and the authorities seemed well on top of the situation so I thought I'd head up the path on the opposite bank towards Breakwater to see what I could see.
Smoke rising over South Barwon Reserve
The first thing I noticed was the ash which was floating across the river and landing on the ground, occasional bits here and there and then more as I headed towards Breakwater. The smoke was heaviest in that direction and appeared to be emanating from the back of the playing fields at the South Barwon Reserve.
New Breakwater Bridge and surrounds bathed in orange
From the old Breakwater Bridge, I could see a couple of trucks at what appeared to be the edge of things with another patrolling on the golf course, possibly looking for spot fires - of which I could see none.
Fire truck on the scene at Breakwater

View from the old Breakwater Bridge
Having seen all there was to see from that part of the river - lots of smoke, a few fire trucks, the odd police car and a circling helicopter - I headed back to the car and did a drive around but could not see where the other reported fires might have been. As I headed over the new Breakwater Bridge, I did see an arial firefighting unit filling its bucket in the Barwon below the Breakwater and dumping it on the reserve.
Arial firefighting unit taking water from the river below the breakwater
Now, as I type, the news is telling me that police are looking for an arsonist in relation to these fires. I can't say I'm surprised. Multiple fires along the river within a few kilometres all in parklands adjoining suburban areas? Hmmmm....
Ironically enough, this time two years ago some of my earliest blog posts showed ducks paddling on Landy Field as the Barwon flooded.

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