Uncontrolled Bush fires in Australia: Waiting for the Apocalypse

taz-correspondent, Urs Wälterlin lives in the Australian Bush. Here he describes the threat to his family by the risk of fire. Christmas in the living room of

Uncontrolled Bush fires in Australia: Waiting for the Apocalypse

taz-correspondent, Urs Wälterlin lives in the Australian Bush. Here he describes the threat to his family by the risk of fire.

Christmas in the living room of the taz-correspondent photo: Urs Wälterlin

WOMBAT CREEK taz | The worst part is the smoke. Even here in the office, behind the shutters, Windows and air conditioning. Our clothes stink like a scout to summer camp. The neck scratches. My eyes are full of tears.

Since 15 years, we'll be on our little Farm, "Wombat Creek", North of the capital, Canberra. My wife Christine, our two sons, and me. It is our Paradise. A place where in front of the kitchen window, kangaroos grazing, while we fry the eggs our chickens for Breakfast.

Under the porch of our Wombat Ellie lives. I had them cut once their stray mother from the bag. My wife had fed the Baby for a year with the bottle. The orphan child, has adopted us, but as his family.

We are surrounded by forest. Typical Australian Bush. Eucalyptus, Acacia. Beautiful – and potentially deadly.

as I write these lines, romp behind the horizon two Bush fires, the Inferno, the dominated for the past two weeks, the screens of the world.

22 kilometres away from us is a fire, the other only ten kilometers. Ten kilometers are nothing. At wind speeds of 80 kilometres per hour and flames as high as houses, a fire can develop heat in just minutes in any direction.

At the Moment the fire is pushing to the North. Good for us. Terrible for the people who live in its path, and lose everything, even your life.

taz-correspondent, Urs Wälterlin secures a work of art of the aboriginal people in his fire bunker photo: Urs Wälterlin

Prior to that, I'm afraid. The thought that my family could come to harm, is intolerable. Burn everything to see what we have built up a lifetime – a pure nightmare.

And then the fear of the "Story" is there. After 30 years as a professional observer, as a Journalist, watching, and reports that analyzed and commented on themselves but not contributing.

And now this. All of a sudden I'm in the middle of it, not only as an observer, also as a player. Existential emotions go through your head. When I write, I need the holster.

Between my work on the microphone and the Computer I carried in our fire bunker what is most Precious of all. Pictures, photo albums, the folder in which my father in Switzerland, had written down his life story before he died.

the day in the Second world war he had described, as he watched from the roof window of his parents ' house in Basel, as in the neighboring Alsace, the flames of incendiary bombs appeared in the sky in apocalyptic Red. In this Passage, I remember it now.

A view from the window evokes thoughts of an Apocalypse. Our view – 30 kilometres into the distance – 30 metres to a red-brown air, wall of dust, dirt, and ash. Christmas was not blood red, only the sky but also the air.

During our Celebration – complete with plastic Christmas tree – I felt for a Moment in the Film "downfall" reminds that shows the last days in Hitler's Bunker. Inside the Party, outside of Armageddon.

of Course, we have done everything that the authorities require. The protection distance between the house and the forest right on the Meter. The building materials are fire resistant. And our "fire plan" prescribes step-by-step what we need to do in case of danger: start the Generator breaks down (the power supply first together), a sprinkler system around the house enable the cylinders to remove the dog to catch. Escape.

early evacuation is the top priority. We are sitting on Packed suitcases. As an absolute last Option, if escape is not possible, we have the fire bunker. A shipping container, buried in a hill. 20 minutes for a fire to take the storm, tell the firefighters. As long as you could survive in there. You say. And I hope.

Because who knows, if the fire behaves like that, as experts had believed for a long years. Because nothing in this fire season is different.

18 pictures

Clearly, fire has given it here, has always been, the risk was known, and for us too predictable. A result of climate change intensified drought, the Vegetation, but over the years, so dry as never before in the history of the continent

has ruined the agriculture. However, Australia also blocked at the international level, a real climate protection, where it can. It is the world's largest exporter of coal and, literally, benefited from, global climate change concomitantly causes, may have something to do with.

How long is Australia with its stance in the international community, after these fires, at least, questionable. The fire is not only the beginning of what will be in Australia to normality. They are a preview of what is in store for the world.

It is evening. Through the dense smoke I see in the distance high in the sky, the lights of the Inferno. I must again think of the image my father had seen as a Boy in the war. "Why do You have to stay in Australia, in this country, where everything is so hard, so brutal?" he had said once, during a particularly hot summer. "Come on home".

Again, these tears in the eyes. It's not just the smoke.

Updated Date: 05 January 2020, 14:00

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