Toodyay is a pretty little town just north east of Perth. It was one of the early European settlements in Western Australia and so is, by Australian standards, quite old. It has retained many of its historic old buildings which adds to its charm. We were close to moving onto a hobby farm in the area before health issues made it impossible.
Sadly parts of Toodyay been burned out by a bushfire believed to have been started by a fallen power line. Thirty seven homes have been destroyed and miraculously there were no deaths. Film of the fire showed it moving at incredible speed seeming to gulp down vegetation and stubble as it went. Behind it lay nothing but black.
We've had high temperatures recently. A succession of days in the high thirties and on the day the fire started it reached 39.6 Centigrade in the city so it would be much higher inland. That morning I had looked out my back door - in the suburbs near the coast - to see a plume of smoke rising from my neighbour's yard right on the fence line. They were obviously out and my hose is not long enough to reach so I ended up throwing buckets of water over the fence to put it out. When I talked to them later we could see no reason how a fire could have started but it certainly brought home to me just how volatile our native vegetation is.
We were lucky. The people of Toodyay were not.
If you want to help those who have lost everything donations can be made by phoning 13 72 58, going to thewest.com.au and follow the Bushfire Appeal link or the Bendigo Bank.
Ticonderoga Publications is donating part of the price of all books sold in the next two weeks to the appeal.