Good lucK David

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Well David, we've had the automated call from the RFS about catastrophic conditions tomorrow so will leave here early tomorrow. I hope all is OK for you and yours and from the maps I've seen you might be in a better position than where we are.
Take care and stay safe and hopefully I'll be back reading once tomorrow's foul conditions are over.
Fran
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Farm1 said:

Holy cow, the lead story at the top of the hour on NHK World (from Japan) was about the wild fires in Tasmania.
The danger continues for much of Australia. They were talking about high temperatures of 42 deg C in Sydney!!!
Hope the Australian rec.gardeners are all safe and sound and keeping cool. As the spouse and I discussed yesterday, I don't plan to complain about the cold weather this winter at all--hot weather is far more dangerous. (And there's been all too much of that in recent years.)
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

"Yes, swooping is bad."
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Pat Kiewicz wrote:

I hope to never get one of those.

They had a record 41.8C there, the ABC weather said after a cold change late today or tomorrow they could get snow. It's a hard land.

Yes and strong winds as well. Most of the State is rated as fire risk "severe" or worse, where Fran lives is rated '"catastrophic". There are 90 odd fires burning already and once the wind gets up in the worst areas they are expecting ember showers to run 10km ahead of the fire front. The flames can burn horizontally and leap wide clearings, fire breaks etc directly. Under such conditions the firefighters can do nothing but save themselves until the wind reduces.

Amen
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

do people have underground fire cellars? it seems that it would be hard to know where to head for if you are surrounded by fast moving fires.

oh jeeze, that'd be horrible. i hope everyone comes through ok.

i'll keep hoping for good rains for you too.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

I haven't heard of one being purpose built. I have one by accident as my house is built on a suspended concrete slab over brick foundations.
The point about knowing what to do in a fast moving situation is important. We are encouraged to identify escape routes, to plan ahead, prepare the ground and house and to make your decisions in advance not in a panic at the end. You want to avoid making a last minute choice to flee and getting burned in your car or staying to defend the indefensible. OTOH some houses are saved by defenders who put out small fires which would otherwise take hold. Not a fun choice.
D
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

...
:)

that all makes sense.
and yes, not fun. i'm sure a lot can be helped by designing structures with metal, brick, concrete, etc. and perhaps even sprinkler systems on backup power supplies to keep the house and surrounding areas wet during the fire storms. still i'd sure not want to be there. smoke alone is tough on my lungs. with the added heat i'd be in rough shape.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

Sure that's possible but not affordable in most cases. Along my street many houses are 100+ years old, typically timber-frame weatherboard, corrugated iron roofs and timber floors on brick piers. Not a very defensible house as there are so many ways for the fire to get into the structure and once its in, the house will be gone in minutes. People in rural communities cannot afford to knock down and re-build.
For new houses the regulations are much more stringent about where you can build and the price of steel is now not much more than wood and (most) people are seeing the sense in sacrificing some amenity in outlook for safety. There are still those who want to build in forests so they can hug the trees :-)
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

if i were looking at the price of replacing a home in comparison i think it would be worth finding something that would help. i can think of several alternatives that would be fireproof against flying embers and not too expensive.

and i'm sure they pay for it and probably a lot for extra fire protection too. are fire insurance rates pretty high down there? or is the government the insurer of last resort?
songbird
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songbird wrote:

Sure you can re-clad in iron or cementious planking (hardiplank) but that doesn't get past the timber frame and the raised timber flooring and joists, if the fire gets underneath you are gone. When these houses were built people had no idea about fireproofing rural houses.

The rates are not that high and you don't hear of people being refused cover. Unlike flooding where the insurers refuse cover if you are in a flood-prone area. It seems they don't yet have a method of assessing fire risk, there are no fire-prone maps like flood-prone maps, so the insured community as a whole carries the risk. This whole area seems to have lagged behind for some reason, building consent authorities have only got serious about assessing fire risk of proposed buildings in the last 15 years or so and that is done individually not on an area.
D
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

i think a coat of cement over metal lathe would work against flying embers. around here cement board also has fiberglass which isn't necessarily fireproof -- i'd use something else as a backing layer. if the underneath is posts cemented into the ground then those could be fireproofed against stray embers (clay, mud, ...). it would also need to be enclosed to keep blowing debris from collecting under the house so there is no other fuel source. after enclosing it i would also stack rocks and pack them with mud for an extra layer. most areas have clay and rocks.

oh, ok. around here the government is insurer of last resort for some areas and flooding, but they are also finally getting smarter in encouraging people to move out of the worst flood prone areas instead of rebuilding. though it is still far from perfect it's at least a step in the right direction.
i'm not going to be too surprised in the USoA to find out that home fire proofing will become more important as the climate gets hotter and dryer.
songbird
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I'd be very surprised if you could.
You might think you could but it's not as if we here in Oz live in a vaccuum.
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Farm1 wrote:

flying embers are different than actual flames right up to the structure. dealing with the surrounding area to keep the flames from the structure only makes much sense if the structure itself is going to be protected.
if the structure is sound it can be sealed and coated with metal lathe, cement, aluminum screening at the seams and edges that might crack. windows, doors and roof might need work or replacement, but those are still less than the cost of a new home. tile floor around the doors, take up the rugs, put the exterior of the doors and windows flush with the exterior of the house so that they will not collect embers, make sure the roof is sound and gaps caulked, etc.
mud, clay and rocks are often available as fireproof materials. these are not expensive things and within the skill set of most people so the labor could be shared and the cost kept down.
an exterior sprinkler system would not be cheap, but not beyond the means of some people.
compressed air kept indoors that can be released when flying embers are in the air to keep them from getting in cracks. not that expensive.
inspecting the house before the fire season and checking when fire is a threat would be a good thing too. making sure to seal up any cracks. mostly a matter of taking the time, not expensive.

of course, but i also know it is common for most people to not do things until they have to. e.g. global warming...
songbird
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We are thinking of you.
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wrote:

Wishing you, yours, your animals and gardens the best of luck in avoiding these catostrophic fires. Stay safe! -Rick
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Farm1 wrote:

Are you home yet? How are things?
David
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Yes, we are home again and only spent the one night away. Dunno how anyone can live in a town and that night put us off ever moving back to one till we are ready for a nursing home.
Things are OK here but it's still hot and extremely dry and the helicopters are still going overhead with the water balls underneath. I doubt that we'll have any problems unless the wind changes direction and starts to really blow like it did the other day.
Even then we have the most important things still packed and near the door nearest the cars and, as I said to the Butcher this morning, if the house burns down its really just a form of extreme decluttering.
But I sure do wish it'd rain.
How 'bout you?
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Farm1 wrote:

amen
No local fires but getting smoke from one about 50km away, enough to fire up the asthma. Very hot and dry, most fruit trees have dropped their fruit. When my ship comes in I will have irrigation to every tree in the orchard, until then I can't keep up with them when we have too many 35-43C days with hot winds. The BOM says many parts of the Hunter are heading for 45C today. I am keeping the water up to the veges, we did a bottling run of tomatoes yesterday and more soon.
D
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:-(( You have my sympathy. We are constantly dragging hoses ATM.

It's appalling. I was thinking this morning as a put a milk crate covered with a towel over a wilting, struggling Vietnamese mint, that a shade house might be required in order to grow veg in the future. I'm really startign to ge quite worried aobut the future given our weather patterns over the past few years. Not so much for me but certainly for my grandkids.
The BOM says many parts of the Hunter are heading for 45C today.

Do you use the water bath method? Fowlers Vacola?
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Farm1 wrote:

Last week the record for the average temperature across the continent that has stood for 40 years was broken on two successive days.

Yes.
D
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Farm1 wrote:

...
...
i'm glad to hear that both of you are doing ok.
songbird
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