Author Topic: Canberra bushfire - Honeysuckle Creek site  (Read 350 times)

Offline Peter B

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Canberra bushfire - Honeysuckle Creek site
« on: January 29, 2020, 09:06:17 AM »
In case people weren’t aware, there’s a bushfire burning a little to the south of Canberra, which has burned out more than 100 square kilometres of bush and farm land. It started in the Orroral Valley, which some of you may know was the site of an old NASA tracking station.

Sadly, it seems the fire has also burned through the old Honeysuckle Creek tracking station site. There wasn’t much there – the concrete slabs the buildings stood on, and a number of signs explaining the history of the site – but it was pretty and atmospheric country, thick forest with a lot of wildlife. Emergency Services say the fire is going to take weeks to extinguish because of the ruggedness of the terrain, but I so want to visit the site again when it reopens.

Offline bknight

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Re: Canberra bushfire - Honeysuckle Creek site
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2020, 09:08:43 PM »
Post some images when you go.  It is sad but fire is indifferent to our wishes.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Canberra bushfire - Honeysuckle Creek site
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2020, 10:43:33 PM »
Orroral valley site also burnt over.  Damage to both sites unknown.

Offline Peter B

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Re: Canberra bushfire - Honeysuckle Creek site
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 07:24:50 AM »
A news report a couple of days ago showed a couple of seconds of video of the Honeysuckle Creek site within a longer montage of videos showing fire damage.

IIRC the surrounding forest was reduced to burned gum trees and nothing on the ground, but the one interpretive sign in view on a concrete slab was undamaged.

Who knows how long it's going to be before they open up the area...?

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Canberra bushfire - Honeysuckle Creek site
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 04:19:46 PM »
A news report a couple of days ago showed a couple of seconds of video of the Honeysuckle Creek site within a longer montage of videos showing fire damage.

IIRC the surrounding forest was reduced to burned gum trees and nothing on the ground, but the one interpretive sign in view on a concrete slab was undamaged.

Who knows how long it's going to be before they open up the area...?

It will be several weeks before the roads can be made safe from tree fall.  I was along there last week and there were several tree falls across the road over the 12 hours.  One right in front of us.  A crew was injured that night when a tree fell across the rear of the truck.

The lower parts of these roads will be of higher priority because of the rural properties along them.

Rain is forecast this weekend which ay speed things along.  One other other hand if it is not enough and we have another dose of hot weather and a strong south westerly change then there may be bigger issues to deal with than access to these monuments.

Offline Peter B

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Re: Canberra bushfire - Honeysuckle Creek site
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2020, 01:32:39 AM »
Yesterday I drove out to do some shopping at Costco, which is located near the Canberra airport. As we approached the airport I saw that one of the DC-10 air tankers was still parked there, even though the fire was declared out a week ago. I surprised myself by how close I came to tears, as the sight of the plane reminded me of the weekend of 1-2 February when the threat was at its greatest.

On that Saturday afternoon one of the DC-10s engaged in a series of flights to drop retardant onto the ground between the fire and the southern suburbs in an attempt to build a barrier in case the winds blew the fire towards Canberra. The plane would take off from the airport, which was only about 20 kilometres away from the drop zone, flying low over our house on the way, make two passes over the fireground, then return to the airport to be refilled with retardant. The round trip time was only about 40 minutes. DC-10s aren't seen much in Australia, and airliners taking off from Canberra airport don't fly near my place. So having this large plane roaring low over our house six or seven times in one afternoon really brought home how close and how intense the fire was.

In the end the fire didn't make it to Canberra. When the wind change came it blew the fire to the south-east, in the process burning out more than 800 square kilometres of farm land and bush land, and destroying many homes and buildings in farms in the area.

Meanwhile, most of the national park where the fire started is still closed, including the Honeysuckle Creek site, until crews can finish remediating the damage.