The fires of hell....

As an Aussie shipmate, Loth’s death hurt us all, and in the midst of this, I was evacuated from my town, high in the Victorian Alps, on Friday, because of fires.

I went to friends in a small beach town for the weekend, to sort myself out, and work out what I had brought down, or forgotten.... A trip to a local doctor fixed up some forgotten asthma meds- my world is filled with smoke.
Most of my congregation left too, apart from those who stayed on to fight. Whilst the main road was closed, there was a back road over the high ranges still open . One young family got to the top, and then mum collapsed with asthma, something she had never had before. She spent two days in hospital, elsewhere in the state. Power went, plus all phones and internet, altho they are back on now.

We were told the roads will be cut for some two weeks.

I moved to friends at another beach town, as planned, for Christmas itself. Two weeks off. Well, I can’t go back anyway.

And now we wait. Between Saturday and Tuesday, one of three scenarios will happen. Depends on winds etc.
1). Nothing.
2). The fires will go bad again, and take out the towns in the ranges, including mine.
3) Who knows what in the alps, but significantly, the fires will escape the alps, and head towards the coast and beach towns. Maybe not here, we hope, and we are told, but we have our plan all ready if we are evacuated.

Please pray for the remote east Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, the town of Swifts Creek, my congregation and me....
We are not scared personally, just stressed and sad. I think of my manse, tne church house a lot, with sorrow. But the house here, on the beach, is fillled with laughter and small children.


Merge this with the prayer thread if you must, but it is also about my personal story.


  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Rowen I have been praying for you by name and also those to whom you minister as well as for the situation in general. Lothlorien was good at reminding us of you and your Ministry, but thank you for naming your town. I realise God knows, but as someone whose prayer life can be sporadic it's helpful to have a geographic name to personalise prayers.

    Is there anything apart from Prayer that those of us in other places can do?
  • {{{{{{{Rowen and everyone affected}}}}}}}
  • praying of course.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I am glad that you are safe, and now well away from risk. I'd been wondering about you.
  • How petty your story makes some of our other threads here seem!
    As I sit safely here in the capital city of your state, is there anything besides praying an elderly woman like myself can do?
  • I'm glad you are safe, Rowen, and you have been in my thoughts. What a horrific situation. You, your parishioners, and indeed all of Australia are in my prayers.
  • RowenRowen Shipmate
    Thank you, dear folk.
    Right now, just prayer is really all we can do.
  • My prayers continue for you and all. Please wear masks. As one who has been through several hellish fires in California care for your lungs and stay inside when smokey if you can.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    @Rowen and all affected by the fires 🕯🕯🕯
  • Rowen
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Prayers have been continuing from over here too, Rowen.
  • You and your communities will continues to be in my prayers.
  • In our prayers xx
  • Praying for you and everyone else affected, {{Rowen}}
  • Prayers, Rowan.
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    Thanks for the update Rowen and specifics to pray for. I made a decision as a small child after the Ash Wednesday fires that as beautiful as the Australian bush is, I didn't want to ever live in a fire danger area and so live in a safe, urban part of Melbourne. But at times like this and the 2009 black Saturday fires I feel so helpless with so many other Australians at risk, losing homes and even lives. As well as suffering asthma and lung problems, which I can relate to. Am praying every day. I also would like to donate where needed, so if any one can recommend a charity it would be great, as it can be confusing to know where help is needed most when there are so many fire fronts and charitable organisations.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host, Hell Host
    ((( @Rowen ))) Praying for all affected by the fires.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    @Rowen, praying along with others here. I dread looking at news reports from Australia each morning...
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Praying for Australia 🕯
  • Thanks for the update, Rowen. These fires seem to slipping under the news radar. Mostly fire reports are about NSW and SA and a little about WA. Hope you are enjoying your coastal break.
  • That's really hard. We get more severe forest fires every year too. We have become used to evacuations unfortunately. Your's appears to be huge in scale. I gave up praying for anything other than strength to cope with things so may you have that. The other thing is that prayer must include works, which may have to be political and business too: the news here in Canada has the fires and also Australia being the hottest ever, while the government wants to continue with irresponsible coal burning.

    There are human set fires burning in Indonesia and Brazil. Because of the same motives. Humans seem to preocuppied with one or other of the seven deadly sins all the time.
  • I am bumping this because Rowen is again planning to evacuate before the fires this time with the family she is spending Christmas with.
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    Praying all goes well. They are evacuating a large area!
  • Yes prayers continuing for you Rowen
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    {{{{Rowen and all others affected}}}}
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Oh my goodness 🕯!
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host, Hell Host
    {{{{Rowen, et al}}}}
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Jengie Jon wrote: »
    I am bumping this because Rowen is again planning to evacuate before the fires this time with the family she is spending Christmas with.

    To be a little more detailed...

    Last night, warnings were issued for the entire East Gippsland region basically telling people to leave, particularly any holidaymakers (it's a popular area at this time of year).

    The inland roads in and out of the region were already cut by fires, and the authorities were concerned about the risk of the coastal highway also being cut, leaving 30,000 people or more with no way in or out. They quite blankly said, leave now because you might not be able to leave over the next couple of days.

    And less than an hour ago according to reports, the road northwards has indeed been cut. I'm not sure about southwards.

    They were also saying that there simply weren't enough resources to protect/rescue everybody if things got bad so they would rather as many people left as possible.

    There are also reports today about western Sydney having bad conditions, and then I just saw that there's an emergency on Kangaroo Island in South Australia as well.

  • RowenRowen Shipmate
    I am having a vacation with friends in a small beach town. He is a retired cop. She is a retired fire fighter. They have 3 children under 16, and myself, a longtime friend.
    The fires may well come here.
    We are told that the safest place to be is here, rather than fleeing through forest roads.
    My hosts are knowledgeable and practical. We have a great emergency plan, should we need it. We may not, of course. We hope not, but....
    Our plan involves camper vans, beach, and even water.

    My second week of evacuation. This is becoming a habit. I am a little scared, but the adrenaline is pumping. My own town is still cut off, still under threat... but apparently there, like here, are dozens of fire fighters and machines.

    Please pray.
  • MiliMili Shipmate
    Praying the fires don't reach the towns and mostly that everyone stays safe
  • Amen. I cannot imagine the horror.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    A firefighter has been killed and 2 others injured today, just on the NSW side of the border with Victoria. Reports are their truck was hit by high winds and rolled.

    A second truck was also blown over, one person injured less seriously.
  • Prayers continuing for all in fire areas. These now include the northern outskirts of Melbourne.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Prayers continuing to ascend.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    To expand on what Orfeo's just posted, the wind was one created by the fire itself. It would need a very powerful wind to overturn one of the trucks.

    I cannot recall any fire season here as bad as this present one. To give those now in mid-winter conditions some idea, these fires are enormous. The area of Victoria where evacuation was recommended is about half the size of Belgium, and at this time much of the coastal fringe at least would have crowds of people on vacation. So far, fires have burned an large area of NSW almost all along the eastern coastal fringe and the adjacent ranges - roughly the area of the UK from a line drawn across from the southern boundary of Yorkshire to the Irish Sea, to another line from Edinburgh to Glasgow. The largest in NSW, called the Gosper's Mountain fire, started a couple of months ago, has burned a half million hectares (seven times the size of Singapore) and is only now being brought under control. Other large ones are still out of control with bad weather conditions forecast for tomorrow.
  • BBC reports that thunderstorms are forming from the smoke, increasing the risk of lightning strike fires.
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Lord, in your mercy 🕯
  • Terrifying. My thoughts are with all those in peril.
  • Please another update from Rowen on Facebook, keep her and the friends she is staying with in your prayers.
  • I’m following Rowen’s posts on f/b and praying.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
  • Searching #mallacoota on Twitter and it looks like people are being told to get in the water. There are estimated to be 4000 there on the beach.
  • Praying.
  • Dear Lord. No words. Prayers.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    Mallacoota is basically the top town being mentioned in all the news reports here in Australia this morning. Pictures are showing it's pitch black.

    (I did not need to see that, immediate 2003 flashbacks...)

    The south coast region of NSW is now also in trouble. I know people who are down there as it's typical at this time of years for lots of Canberrans to be down there. Not so many this year as roads have been cut for a while, but still some.

    They've named the firefighter who died yesterday. His wife is expecting their first child.

    I know fires have long been a part of Australian life. And we've had bad years. But I'm honestly struggling to think of another year quite like this. It's still only December.
  • Rowena’s last post on Facebook was a few minutes ago. She’s still on the beach, but Mallacoota is under ember attack now, and the fire is approaching the lake end of town. Her home town is safe at the moment.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I can't remember such terrible fires before. Certainly very bad ones, particularly in the Blue Mountains, but not as many nor as spread along the ranges and coast as these. For that matter, we've had extra-hot summers before, and also very wet ones. The Hunter and inland floods in 1955 were devastating. But I can't recall such a long and widespread drought as this. It's hard to understand why governments want to bring in more and more people to a land which can't support present numbers.
  • orfeoorfeo Shipmate
    I really don't see that population per se is the issue here.

    Every time I look at the news updates I kind of wish I hadn't. There are a total of 7 people missing.

    They've just completely cancelled the New Year's Eve celebrations here in Canberra. The fireworks had already been cancelled but now the whole thing is of. Conditions are just too unpredictable.
  • ABC has just announced that the fire danger for Mallacoota has passed. Houses have been lost and damaged, and I think people are still on the beach until the situation is safe, but it is a lot better there than in other areas of the state. There are still 4 people missing, with 2 more confirmed dead.
  • I've been following that and praying. More used to praying about family in California fires...
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