Hi everyone, it's Jo here and sorry to Ellie and Bazzy baby, but I am hijacking your blog.
As most of you know we here in Victoria are currently experiencing the worst bushfires in Australia's histroy at the moment.
The heatwave of last week, where we had days and days of temps over 45c and the continuing drought have both contributed to the whole state of Victoria being so dry that it was inevitable that we were in for a bad bushfire season this summer.
February is the worst time for us, as the heat of summer is at it's hottest, and we have already had 2 months of summer sun, just enough to dry everything out even more.
The tragedy is not over, the fires are still raging and although we have had a cool change in the weather this week, the forecast is for it to get hot again by Friday and once again to have winds blowing from the north - this means hot desert winds.
The areas hit the worst are just out of Melbourne in the surrounding hills of the Yarra Valley and at the end of the Dandenong Ranges flowing into Gippsland.
These are beautiful bush areas that in parts have quite a lot of small towns, so there are a lot of people living amongst the bush.
And of course these areas are home to many many native animals.
The concern is that the fires of the Kinglake/Healesville area will join up with the fires of the Gippsland area - this would be terrible.
The fires are both already huge and burning out of control. There is no way of putting them out, just trying to put in firebreaks to control where they head.
We have more than 3000 volunteer firefighters in there, we have also had teams of firefighters come in from New Zealand, Tasmania, Canberra and South Australia to help. The army are also now helping out and doing what ever needs to be done to save the towns under the most threat.
It has been declared a National Disaster, and it is not over yet.
Please say a prayer for the families of the 173 confirmed dead, the 1000 that have already lost their homes and for the poor people doing everything they can to save lives and homes at threat.
There have been amazing stories of survival - including my husband Tim's cousin, who with her husband and daughter hid in a steel shed on their 10 acre property in Kinglake and huddled under wet blankets while the fire raged straight through their property destroying everything except the shed. We thank god they survived. They have said it happened so fast there was no time to get out.
We are safe and have not been in any threat of danger.
I am hoping & praying that the friends I have in high risk areas will remain safe.
As I said the fires are still a high danger to a lot of towns, the weather conditions are not going to help.
Please pray for those at risk. It is truly horrendous.
Anyone wanting to help can donate to the Red Cross - they have set up a Bushfire Appeal.
Sorry to hijack the Dales blog - they said it would be ok, but just this once :)