Something Australia is very good at is hot and dry. As we also pride ourselves on the amount of beautiful bush we have, bush fires are inevitable. So much so that many or Australia's native flora have grown to be bush fire dependent for reproduction.
In the past few years the effects of these fires have been devastating to many communities. We love the bush and so we build our homes in it. Then when a natural fire comes through we get burnt.
Our awareness and strategies to deal with these events are growing. Today we have been told that the fast, hot 60km/h winds and the 39 degree temperatures are 'Catastrophic'. Everyone is on high alert. I have friends not at home (in bush) today, just to be on the safe side. The Rural fire service has a map littered with fires. The reality of it all is rather sobering.
In these, and other natural disaster, (which we seem to be experiencing a lot of) situations, I always ponder how much to share with the kids. We don't watch the news in our house very often. Nath reads it on the net and I find it depressing, so remain blissfully ignorant. I have a few friends who shield their children from it and others who have the telly and news on constantly so their kids are inundated with it.
My eldest and I have had some conversations about it, following him seeing a car be washed down a flooding river and hearing at Pre-School of a tornado. I simply answered his questions the best I could...It went something like this...
"Mum, why had that river flooded?"
"Because it has rained so much that all the water has run off into the river and the river has got too big"
"Will it flood at our house?"
"No, we live up on a hill and there are no big rivers near us"
"What about a tornado? Will a tornado hit our house?"
"I don't think so, they 'usually' happen near a beach and we don't live anywhere near the beach"
"So then what do we get?"
"Well we get bush fires, where the grass and the forests catch on fire, sometimes these can burn houses down as well"
following this we happened upon a bush fire effected forest on one of our bush walks. Orlando had context, he was fascinated and loved exploring the charcoal, drawing with it and breaking it apart.
Yesterday we were watching a news snippet on the current Tasmanian bush fires. Having just come back from visiting many of the places currently effected, Orlando was interested. No questions were asked, I just watched him watch and waited to see if questions would come.
Today he came to me after a painting session with this painting....
I asked him to tell me about it. He said "this is all the grass on fire and the winds that are here today are making it go "woooshhh" and blowing it into big fire balls. This is the brave fireman and he is working really hard to make the fire in control. When it is in control, that's when we are all safe again."
I asked him if he was feeling unsafe. and he replied "I know about bush fires Mum, we don't have any bush very close to our house and I saw the fireman in their truck down the road yesterday, so I know they are working hard keeping us safe"
enough said... other than THANK YOU to all the fireman that are working tirelessly to keep us as safe as they can... Stay safe everyone!