Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Native Tinder Box

Woodend - Gum Forest. Victoria, Australia. Nov. 2008. Ajr It is a sad fact that, as pretty as they are, the eucalypt forests of Australia are a natural tinder box - a fire just waiting to happen. The Woodend-Macedon area is no exception. Back in 1983 on Ash Wednesday (as if that wasn't a cruel enough irony), wildfires swept through nearby Mt Macedon, completely destroying 'Millionaires' Row - that swanky hillside holiday retreat for many of Melbourne's rich and famous. Seven local people died and 499 homes were destroyed. Turns out the two worst regions for wildfires in the world are California and here, in Victoria, Australia - it's all to do with the very hot summers and this inflammable native vegetation, which contains highly volatile plant oils.

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