Saturday, January 5, 2013

Prayer in Time of Bushfires

Hear our prayers, O God, for the efforts to quench the fires that rage in our land; and, sustaining our spirits, keep us graciously from all harm and give success to the work of our hands. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Roman Missal, Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, 37/1 (in Australia)

Hobart recorded its hottest-ever day yesterday: 41.8°C (and the second-hottest temperature recorded at any place in Tasmania). But the worst bushfires struck east of Hobart, and have burnt out much of the townships of Dunalley (65 properties destroyed) and surrounds, and cut off all road access to the Tasman Peninsula – they are still burning out of control. 

Amazingly, the Dunalley weather station recorded the passage of the firestorm thus:

4:00pm: 38.5°C
4:22pm: 54.9°C
4:23pm: 49.9°C
4:26pm: 44.5°C
4:30pm: 44.8°C
4:37pm: 47.2°C
5:00pm: 44.1°C
5:30pm: 41.7°C

Presumably the terrific surge of heat at 4:22pm marks the fire coming into the township; officially, the highest temperature at Dunalley yesterday was 41.7°C, since all measurements between 4pm and 5:30pm are due to radiant heat from the blaze, and not "ambient conditions".  Otherwise, Dunalley has broken the Australian record, most unenviably.  The locals had to dive into the canal to avoid being roasted alive.

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