From purple_smurf: "This explains why these fires are different, and why the death toll is so high. (For the record, 46C = 114.8F.)"
Every year, it happens. Houses burn, livestock are lost, and people turn to each other and say that it sounded like a train, that the fire moved as fast as they could run. That they lost the house but the kids are okay. It's horrible, but it's normal.From foxo11: "Here's the link to the people who are known to have perished in the bushfires. The number is still rising." Three hundred is the number being discussed now, as victim searches begin.
None of this is normal.
.... The radiant heat [this time] has been described as like Dresden. Houses were exploding into flame ahead of the firefront. While normal ember attacks give you a decent length of time for the house to stand before it is unsalvageable (the eaves and under the house start smouldering, small fires begin, but it's usually after the front has past that the house really catches light), this time large properties were gone in minutes.
From rose_papillon: "In regards to the bushfires, I wonder if I could turn your attention to this. It's a journal entry written by my brother, writer Andrew Hutchinson, about my eldest brother Ben. Ben has lost everything in the Kinglake fires but refuses to leave the town while there is still recovery work to be done. There are other entries in my lj about the bushfires, but I find that Andrew's entry pretty much sums things up." It actually made me cry, by the way.
My brother is still out fighting the Kinglake fire. He's been working virtually non-stop since it began. I think he's trying to keep busy so he doesn't have to stop and think about it. About the town being burned to nothing. The dead bodies in the paddocks. In the burnt out cars along the roads. About his house, his stuff, all gone. And the one thing that always stands out for me with my brother Ben is that he's a good person. He would do anything to help out anyone. He has always put himself out to assist others. His entire life is dedicated to taking care of his young daughter and helping the local CFA. He would sacrifice his personal happiness to achieve this, without any hesitation. Yet he's the one who gets the bad deal. It's always such a confusing equation, in that you want for good things to happen to good people.
Meanwhile, kaymbee reports, "I've been working at one of the relief centres for survivors and donations in my hometown Wallan for the past week - all my posts are here. And if nothing else, please pass on this article from the Herald-Sun, the more widely read state newspaper: Where the hell is everyone? - an account of the last few hours in Marysville."
From trvllngjwllr, regarding Sam the koala: "People can also make donations to Wildlife Victoria and also the RSPCA to try and assist the animal carers too!"
And iamshadow has more links to help the helpless: Triple R Equine Welfare Inc ("scroll to the bottom for the 'donate' button"); Animal Aid; Wildlife Rescuers; WRAP - Wildlife Rescue and Protection Inc; Healesville Sanctuary. "Also, ABC forums have an excellent list of Things you can do to help, including donations of money, but also listing donations of time from skilled volunteers (such as electricians), temporary housing, blood donations and donations of non-perishable food and clothing."
And, once again: You can donate to the Australian Red Cross here.
ETA: The volunteer-run Bushfire Survivor list, to reduce strain on the Red Cross missing persons line by letting people check for friends and family themselves.
ETA: From jwaneeta: Sweet God almighty, it really does sound like a freight train.