All Victorian records have now been ecilpsed ; the longest dry period ever without rain -none this year except for a few drops, only 2% humidity, 3 consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 43 C (109 F) and with catastrophic consequences last Saturdays hottest day ever at 46.4 C (115 F) became the catalyst for over 100 raging bush fires which aleady represent the worst natural disaster to ever befall Australia.
Over 5,000 homeless and it is thought there could be up to 300 people dead. Just about everyone knows somebody badly effected in in way or another. If you would like to read or hear some of the stories of this unprecedented disaster click here.
There is also a good coverage at Bloomberg.
Bush Fires down under are like hell in all it's fury, since the oils from leaves of the giant eucalyptus ignite the whole tree and causes such heat intensity the tree literally explodes with such force that fireballs ignite bushland up to a kilometers ahead of the main fire front. Burning embers travel another 15 km further on to create spot fires.
The intense radiation and accompanying heat and smoke fanned by fierce winds of up to 100 km/h decimated whole townships as no dwelling was spared. In some towns everything was raised to the ground whilst in others up to 50% were destroyed.
The death toll continues to rise as emergency fire teams and the army gain entry to previously completely inaccessible hostile regions captive to the raging fire. But new spot fires continue to ignite dense nationl parkland areas in addition to those fires which are already burning out of control and threatening the Glenhope area north of Melbourne and towns of Beechworth and Yackandandah in the northeast.
Our family and close friends are all safe and their homes are intact but a good friend of my wife lost her house whilst another's grandson has perished.
That is the the news for the moment- "The nation should brace itself for a very challenging time ahead," said Prime Minster Kevin Rudd - see his interview here.