2020 Australian Bushfires Report

Monday, Jan 6, 2020 4:00pm

by Paul Vaughan, Pastor, Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

Thank you for your prayers for God’s intervention on behalf of our brethren living in the fire-affected areas of Victoria.

Despite very high temperatures and gusty hot winds on the Sabbath, the fires did not progress to the areas where our members live.  Yesterday (Sunday) a cooler change swept through the areas, with even a little light rain.  The light rain continues today.  Authorities say it isn’t enough to put the fires out, however the cooler change is enough to give fire-fighters a small respite, and to allow for an assessment of the damage & planning how to move forward from here.   The weather bureau is forecasting cooler conditions for the next couple of days, but a return to higher temperatures on Thursday and especially Friday.  They stress that the danger from existing fires has not yet passed, and of course there is always a potential for new fires.

Please continue to pray for God’s intervention and protection for our brethren and their families in these areas.  Thick bushfire smoke in some areas continues to make breathing difficult outdoors, and the danger has not fully passed.  We can thank God for His mercy and intervention thus far, looking to His continuing protection as we move into the coming days and weeks.


Saturday, Jan 4, 2020 12:30pm

by Doug Gray, Director of Operations

By the time you read this report the dynamics of the bushfire situation in Australia will have changed as more fires seem to spring up almost hourly. No state in Australia has been spared with much of the continent in the grip of the third year of drought. An early start to summer conditions with above average temperatures, strong winds, with very little rain combined with high fuel loads on forest floors created explosive tinderbox conditions. 

The most serious fires are on the eastern seaboard with many fires in the states of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria stretching approx. 1200 miles. So far NSW has been the hardest hit with 3.5 million hectares burnt affecting bushland, agricultural areas, housing and infrastructure. To give some perspective the California wild fires burnt through 1.9 million hectares. Total area burnt in all states to date approximately 5.0 million hectares.

Lightning strikes, and regrettably arson, have played a major part in triggering fires, many in inaccessible places. To date 1200 homes have been lost in NSW alone.  9 people have died.  Cooler conditions along the south part of the east coast is helping the fire fighters today but hotter conditions are on the way.

Thousands of holiday makers on the coast of NSW and Victoria have been cut off with loss of power, communications and shortage of food and supplies. Units of the Australian Navy and Army have been mobilised to assist with supplying essentials and evacuation.

Heartbreaking stories continue to emerge of homes destroyed and  family members lost or unaccounted for. To date, those of our church members who were being threatened by the fires are all safe. I include the following update from the King family from Western NSW who were delivered from potential disaster:

"God has been very gracious to us during what can only be described as a fire storm that hit our property on Saturday the 21/12/19. We had three large fire fronts converge around the property at the same time from different directions. Whilst we lost all our remaining pasture, and the fire burnt right up to our house and sheds, all the major infrastructure and nearly all the hazelnut orchard was saved. Our losses amounted to the pasture, some poly pipes that supplied water to the garden, some garden and orchard trees and shrubs, fire wood we had stockpiled for winter and a couple of internal fences that were going to be replaced over the holidays anyway. 
We have had help from both family and church members to repair the damage. The cattle have been taken by family to Victoria to allow the pasture to recover if we get rain. 
The King family want to thank the brethren for their prayers during this difficult time. We want to let everyone know that God heard them and delivered us out of the fire and has left us with the things we need to carry on. It is our desire to share this for God's people to give praise and thanks to Him and to take courage in the face of our many and varied trials we each face" 

With the rest of summer to run there is no end in sight to the fires and only the miracle of rain in good quantity will solve the current crisis.

Your prayers for rain and continued protection for our members and the nation would be greatly appreciated. 
 

Doug Gray

Sydney, New South Wales

UCGia

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