Last week I was standing in the kitchen trying to do dinner prep before dashing to the veggie shed for, well vegetables. Mr S sent a message through on my phone, & being sticky fingered I barely glanced at it, but when another message came through right away I figured I'd better wash up & find out what was going on. From where he works in town he can look out over the river that separates our portion of town from where he works. While he can't exactly see our home, or us his office, he can see up behind us & what he saw had him concerned.
He asked me if a storm was rolling in & I said not that I noticed it was all quite peaceful, in fact, upon reflection I realised it was eerily quiet. I went back to preparing dinner & when he insisted that he could see something awful coming our way I went outside to have a peek. Awful was right. The sky behind us was pretty dark, but more concerning was that the air smelled heavily of smoke. Not that, "Everyone's realised the damp evening chill is rolling in & are starting fires.." kinda smell, but the "is our neighbourhood on fire" kinda smell.
I chucked the prepared meatloaves into the oven & dashed to check with the Fire & Police for a warning, but found nothing. I figured the farmer behind us must have been doing some burn-off & perhaps it was larger then expected. Mind you, I wasn't exactly sure where he was doing it because his fields are currently full of small poppy plants. However, within a matter of minutes our neighborhood was so encased with smoke, we had to close up the windows & doors. Pedestrians out walking were quickly running for cover, & we could no longer see our neighbor's homes.
I had one child in a full tilt panic that we were trapped in a bush fire. I assured him that if we were in a bushfire we'd have been warned, the fire department would be out right now telling us to get out while we could. He wasn't very reassured & was pretty relieved when I said we needed to go get vegetables for dinner. Talk about slow progress.
Just getting from the house to the car was hard enough because we were literally choking on smoke, the whole eyes streaming, throats dried out kinda choking. We could no longer see the other side of the river, much less the river, or the huge boats we knew were in port. Being so close to time for Mr S to knock off work, we decided to go over & collect him so he wouldn't have to bike home in the mess.
As we entered the highway it honestly looked like the smoke was hurtling up at us, which did little to reassure the child freaking out about a bush fire. I opted to distract him & told him to use my phone to ask Daddy if he could find out what was going on, & to check in on Nana. I was worried that if the smoke hit her portion of the neighborhood she'd have a full blown asthma attack. The best we could find out was that the forestry department was doing a burn-off a good hour + up the road from us.
We still have no idea if that's what was going on, or where, but within a half hour of encompassing us we were all clear, aside from the lingering stench of smoke in our clothes. Thankfully, Nana's area never got it & she had no idea anything had been amiss until the following day when someone was telling how horrifying it had been to sit there & watch it roll in at you.
On the flip side, it was a great reminder of the danger & horrors of the upcoming bush fire season, & doing what we can within our own area to help prevent them. Our frightened child is taking it upon himself to double check all trees in relation to power lines in our area. I've suggested if he finds any he feels are of concern he immediately email or ring the electric company. Apparently he feels one of our own trees is in violation, so I guess I know what we'll be doing this weekend.