Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Drive Through The Fire Ravaged Toolangi State Forest

We decided to go for a drive to Yea on Saturday, something we do quite regularly, as there are some lovely shops and things in Yea. Anyway, it was the first time we'd been through the area from here to Yea since the bushfires started 3 weeks ago. I guess curiosity got the better of us, and we wanted to see for ourselves what had happened out there. We knew not to go to any of the townships that had been destroyed by the fires ... the police were at the entrance to the roads heading into them anyway. It wouldn't have been fair, as the people who lived there would probably be there, trying to rebuild their lives, and certainly wouldn't want (or need) sightseers hanging around. So, we just travelled through Yarra Glen, via the Melba Highway, to Yea. The roads were quite busy, with a lot of traffic going both ways.

We were horrified by what we saw, once we got out past Yarra Glen, and toward Dixons Creek. The fire had destroyed so much, and you could see how hard the people must've fought, to save their homes. Many sheds and outbuildings, fences, and the like were destroyed, but from what we could see, along the Melba Highway, most of the houses were saved (I can't imagine what it was like further in toward Kinglake, though ... ).

Once we entered the State Forest, into what we call The Slide, we were stunned by what we saw. The whole forest was wiped out, the tree trunks were blackened, the leaves (when there were any left) were all brown and crispy, and there was not a single blade of grass or anything remotely green remaining ... just bare, scorched earth. It was just awful. This used to be a beautiful, lush forest, with a river running deep down beside the road (which we'd never seen, due to the abundant vegetation). We were able to see how steep the hills were, alongside the road (once again, this was never that evident, due to the amount of trees and shrubs and the like that covered everything). I've got to say, I was sitting there, with my mouth open, aghast at what I saw. It is so, so very sad.

As we got to the outer edge of the forest, there were patches of green, which the fire obviously had missed. And heading out toward Glenburn there were big blackened areas, and smaller green ones. Unfortunately, the fires don't seem to have hindered the progress of the North-South Pipeline ... they were busy working away, and have completed heaps more since we were out that way last.
We knew the Glenburn Hotel had been destroyed, but it was so sad to see. This hotel used to always be busy, with bikers, and drivers alike, stopping for a quick drink, or a meal, or a catch up with friends. It was a great little pub. Now, it is just ruins. Again ... so sad.

The remains of the Glenburn Hotel

We kept driving, through to Yea, where we stopped for a drink and a nibble, then turned around and came home, through that devastation once again.
It really makes you think, how difficult it must be for the firefighters, and what an amazing job they do. They have been fighting these fires non-stop now, for 3 weeks ... they must be exhausted. And the poor, poor people who have lost everything (not to mention those who have lost family members). I pray that it rains soon, so the poor guys can have a break, and our state can start the long road to recovery.

What looks like ash in the foreground, is actually burnt hay bales.

Take care,

14 comments:

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I've been following the wildfires on the news but seeing your pictures just brings it all home, Connie. So, so sad, both for people and for the poor wildlife who've lost their homes and especially for those who lost their lives.

We have some brush fires occasionally but nothing on the scale of those fires.

Praying that it rains soon and the land and forests can renew and grow green and lush once again.

Love and hugs,

Diane

Puss-in-Boots said...

It has been a dreadful time for the people of Victoria and I'm glad you and your family are safe, Connie.

It's heartbreaking to see the devastation of the fires and they're still burning! Like you, I pray that rain falls soon to give everyone a break.

CiscoKid said...

We saw the footage here in the States and it sure looked awfull. Complete towns burnt and the like. Completely sad.

Peter said...

G'day Connie, there is nothing like the personal touch to drive home the tragedy of those fires.
Rex (SIL) took a semitrailer load of hay from Wudinna, that's a bloody long trip BTW, he took quite a few photos and with his personal comments about them they certainly had an impact.

Gina E. said...

I don't know if you saw them, Connie, but I posted some photos on my blog just after Black Saturday - of Marysville last year. We often went up there via Kinglake on Ken's bike, and just loved the tall trees and ferns along the roads. We've got friends in Yarra Glen, and so Yea was also a regular pitstop for us. We can't bear the thought of going up that way again and seeing the devastation. If this drought doesn't end soon for once and for all, I doubt if I'll see the forest green again in my lifetime.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

sad to hear and see the devastating effects of the fire, Connie.

greeneyes said...

So Sad , the pics really show the devestation, Gosh it must be so hard on everyone over there and esp for thoe who lost their homes .I have been still following the news on the fires etc but it cant hardly begin to show the hardships for all those people and yet to come . SO sad , I pray for rain ,and still do my rain dance , Hope some comes soon. Love and hugs Dear friend xoxox
greeneyes

Merle said...

Dear Connie ~~ Thank you for your concern, but I am OK - sort of. Have been in a lot of pain for weeks and then the accident. I am just starting to feel better so hope to get back to more normal. I haven't cooked for a couple of weeks and if anyone visits I ask them to get my mail to avoid walking.
I read this post before, but
obviously got too tired to comment.
I heard one house was destroyed in Dixons Creek, several at Steels Creek and Yarra Glen. As you know I sed to live near all of these as
well as Toolangi. I thought about
you last night and hoped you were safely home. Take care, dear friend
Love, Merle. x x

Technonana said...

Hi Connie... stopping by from Merle's blog!!
This devestation is so terrible!! and to think that someone might have started these fires on purpose is even worse!!
I kept up with the fires through Merle's blog post, and the news of course!!
The pictures remind me of our own Gulf Coast after Katrina. There is so much still to be done in the cities and town along the coast in Alabama and Mississippi. I have not been there only heard reports from friends who have been there to help out.... they say it's like looking at a war ravaged country.

Gina E. said...

Hi Connie,
Ken and I went up to Yea on Easter Monday, via Kinglake. I've posted some photos and comments on my blog too. If it affects us who only drive through, imagine how the residents feel; it must be an ongoing nightmare to live there.

Michael Manning said...

Connie: I saw a fire burning in the Bear Ridge Mountains of Sedona. This reminded me of my visit there! lol!

Gina E. said...

CONNIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where are you? Have you quit blogging in favour of Facebook or another upgraded online journal?? I miss your friendly posts and lovely photos!

Saur♥Kraut said...

It will get better. The nice part is that fire often precedes a really beautiful regrowth and it's often actually good for the forest itself.

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