Sunday, 15 February 2009

Fruit and Fire

The weather has been incredably hot. There were five consecutive days with maximum temperatures in excess of 40 degrees celcius. Then there was a cool change one day and it only got to 39 celcius. The contract pickers which were going to be Malaysian but turned out to be Chinese and Iraqi, as well as the handful of regular pickers including Jen and I, couldn't pick much past noon, when the heat became overpowering. Fruit was cooking on the trees. The trees were shutting down in the heat which stopped the fruit growing and has made problems with undersized fruit. Then a weather forcast a couple of days before saturday february 7 came out saying that the saturday would bring high winds and high temperatures in the mid 40's, raising the risk of possable bushfires in the tinder dry eucalypt bushland and fully cured grasslands of victoria. We were given the day off work. The day broke many records, Melbourne recorded it's hottest day on record at 46.4 degrees celcius (115.5 Farenheit). Here in Shepparton I saw thermometers reading 47 and 48 degrees. The fears of fire became a reality, and they have been widely reported elsewhere. It is the worst natural disaster in Australia since european settlement. The nearest fires to where we are were perhaps 100km away, and we were never in any danger here, there has just been alot of smoke turning the sun and moon red. There are still fires burning and it is a very sombre time here in Victoria at present.

2009 Victorian Bushfires
2009 Southeastern Australian Heatwave