It's summer in the Australia and the pests are out. On the driest continent on Earth with highly flammable bush they arrive every year with their matches and cigarette lighters. From 7:30 am until 3:30 pm yesterday water bombing helicopters were flying overhead, fighting the twelfth deliberately lit fire in a large area set aside for public use a short walk from where I live. It has playing fields for a variety of sports, pockets of bush and parkland with walk trails, picnic areas and stables for Riding for the Disabled among other things. So it's not just the native animals but the horses as well that are at risk. The question is why would anyone want to set fires there?
The bombers and fire brigades are back today because the fire has flared up again and below us the suburb is smothered in smoke. We are fortunate we live on a hill and the wind has until now been blowing most of the smoke away from us - just as well too since Virgo and I both suffer from asthma along with several of our neighbours. We have an evaporative air-conditioner (very popular in our dry climate) and the day is heating up but it's dangerous to put it on because of the risk of flying sparks lodging in it. As a result we're sweltering inside with all the doors and windows closed and the washing, rescued as the wind changed, sogging on clothes airers.
This fire and the ones that annually devastate another bushland enclave, also a short walk from my home, put all of us who live here (and our property) at risk, as do fires set by arsonists everywhere in the world. I find this behaviour totally incomprehensible. What conceivable pleasure is there in causing such destruction? I understand the fascination of fire. I grew up with an open wood fire and wood fired stove providing our household heating and hot water. There's nothing much to match the pleasure of sitting in front of a log fire on a cold winter's day but there's also nothing quite so terrifying as an out of control wildfire. These idiots are lighting fires in the middle of suburbs. What do they think they are doing?