Friday, 26 December 2008

Elvis is in the city

I saw Elvis on Tuesday. Not that one, of course, although I was driving past a chip shop* at the time. This was Elvis the helicopter, one of five fire-fighting Erickson Aircranes stationed in south-eastern Australia for summer**.

It's bush fire season. Not a major problem for those of us living in the inner west of Melbourne, where bigger concerns are noisy neighbours and just when on earth the garbos are turning up to empty the bins. Yet, like half of urbanite Australia, I want to move out of the city and live on a bush block where I don't have to worry about doof music and this erratic bin emptying is the norm not a seasonal aberration.

But the thought of bush fires scares the crap out of me. Friends who have been through them attest that they are, indeed, absolutely terrifying, even for the really, really well-prepared. And they're not doing it again. Ever. So I know I'm on the right track without actually having to don protective gear and get on the roof to put out embers cascading from exploding tree tops. There are some things in life you don't need to experience first hand.

Given that reluctance, I've now cut out most of the continent. Which leaves … let me see … gibber plains and rainforest proper. (And not that inflammable wet sclerophyll that passes for rainforest. Real, non-burning stuff. Like the microphyll vine-fern forest on Mt Bellenden Ker.)

Yeah, I know. My chances of a rural escape aren't looking good. I'll be stuck in the city forever.


* Kirsty MacColl (1981)

** To be perfectly honest (but why start now?), I'm not sure whether it was Elvis or Elsie, the two Victoria aircraft. Or Flynn, lost on the way to South Australia. (Turn left, fellas.) Because it was flying back and forth over the inner west and being trailed by a much smaller helicopter, I'm assuming it was being filmed by a news crew. Anyway, opening with 'I saw Elsie on Tuesday' doesn't have the same ring to it, unless you're familiar with Coronation Street. Which is another matter entirely. And I'm going to make a cup of coffee.


Dave Coulter said...

Those machines ARE impressive. Hey....don't those dingos live out in the bush too?

Snail said...

True, but the snakes take care of them.

Sherryl said...

I saw Elvis too. Wasn't he elegant, swishing across the sky?
Lovely to watch.

As for the bush fire danger, don't tell me about it. My best hope is to build a house that will withstand fire on its own (I'm on the right track so far). I was thinking of doing the "this is my plan and I will stay and fight the fire thing" until a local said, "Yes, but you realise that a fire will suck all the air up and you'll die of asphyxiation." Um... right.

Ultimately, I think the fire won't be the problem, it'll be trees falling on the house, thanks to a local council that is so stupid it won't let us cut down trees and make the area safer. Grrrrr.

And the word verification below says: muttagn. Yes, I am muttering in a foreign cursing language....

Snail said...

I don't think lack of oxygen is the big problem in bush fires. After all, there's plenty of it around!

Have you got a nice clear, tree-free path out of the property?