When it can all get a bit much

Do you wonder what the recent bushfires have done to environment? During the recent bushfires the Blue Mountains seemed surrounded by fire with the Ruined Castle fire on the southern side of the Great Western Highway and the large Gospers Fire to the north. Each of these fires joined existing fires on both the north and south sides to each become what was termed a megafire. The Gospers fire to the north of the Great Western Highway was only considered ‘under control’ on the 14 January 2020 two and a half months after it was ignited by lightning strike on the 26 October 2019.

As we prepared our property for a fire event on 21st December we realised there were huge clouds forming beyond Mt Hay to the north of us. We watched from our front yard the pyro-cumulonimbus clouds forming kilometres away in the Gospers fire and could only imagine what it must be like on the fire ground. I knew these were fire induced clouds but to actually witness the clouds form in front of us sitting on a garden seat in our front yard was a phenomena I wasn’t expecting to personally witness. These pyro-cumulonimbus storms bring little rain but are packed with lightning that can spread fires through lightning strikes, the with the lofting of embers and the generation of severe wind outflows it all looked to be an absolutely devastating fire situation, particularly for the native animals and vegetation. I felt there could be nothing left and all indeed was lost. The pyro-cumulonimbus clouds represented a power too huge to control and was truly what NASA called “the fire-breathing dragon of clouds”.  Its ferocious power was devastatingly awesome to watch from the safe distance of 5 kilometres.  It truly was a dragon.

Imagining so much devastation and envisioning Armageddon I felt the best way I could deal with it was to see the reality for myself. I drove to Mt Victoria and along the Darling Causeway to Bell, stopping continually to draw and take images to absorb what I was seeing. It was eerie, there was no bird song or movement of animals around, or tracks left. It was, in many ways, desolate. This was an area closed during the height of the fires so you can imagine the intensity of the fireground, enough to burn out power poles and leave only traces of dumped tyres and car parts. But there was new growth, small red shoots on the side of tree and green in some hardy ground plants. There was hope.

I’d like to share with you the images of the trip that day where it seemed to me the grey ash formed its own lament for the environment and the small growths on the blackened trees offered the possibilities of regeneration.

After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 1
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 1
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 5
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 5
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 2
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 2

After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 3
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 3
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 6
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 6
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 7
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 7
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 8
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 8
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 9
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 9
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 11
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 11
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 10
After the bushfire Mt Victoria 2020 10