Over 300 homes and habitats in the mountains west of Sydney were destroyed by the recent forest fires that devastated the popular tourist region.
“It was a catastrophic atmosphere, with winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour, sending flames into the stratosphere and fireballs falling at will to hasten new blazes,” Slinkard said. “This spring had winds to equal nothing we have ever experienced before. With a mass of dry foliage throughout the Blue Mountains, encouraged by little rainfall, it was an inferno waiting to happen.”
The author added, “Where we live, the Hawkesbury valley, we had an eerie view of the pink grey smoke streaming up from within the Blue Mountains. That smoke soon veiled our property and we too felt threatened, as it was so intense. Our fire fighters were on the ready, but had to call for reinforcements from interstate, as the fires leapt furiously out of control. The efficiency of the fire fighters and their planned attacks on the various fires was nothing short of brilliant. They saved through their strategy, many lives, I'm sure. And as the majority do, we gave and helped in any way possible.”
Slinkard took in refugee fire victims, both animals and humans, stating, “I’m afraid I’m no hero, just helping friends in need, and by now, they have nearly all returned to their homes still intact, thank heavens.”
Doreen Slinkard, left, comforts her friend and fellow author, fire refugee Jenny Churchill, holding her cat, Tavi.
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