Contributed by: Ash Nugent Tuesday, February 17 2009 @ 04:30 pm ACDT
Saturday week ago, several parts of Victoria recorded their hottest temperature on record, including 46.4 degrees Celsius in Melbourne, the highest temperature recorded in an Australian capital city. Several bushfires broke out in the state with major blazes in the Churchill, Kinglake and Marysville areas. So bad were conditions (not just the heat but strong, unpredictable winds) that as of today 200 people are dead, hundreds of properties have been destroyed, thousands of residents displaced and hundreds of thousands of acres of land scorched. And sadly those figures are set to rise. In terms of lives lost, it is Australia's worst bushfires, surpassing major fires on Ash Wednesday (1983) and Black Friday (1939). Several of Saturday's fires (although now controlled) still continue some ten days on.
Numerous fundraising efforts have been launched to assist those who have lost everything. Companies have chipped in up to two million dollars each, everyday Australians touched by the stories of loss are giving generously out of their own pockets and several sporting bodies have held matches to raise money for the Bushfire vicitms. The AFL shifted the preseason match between Essendon and Western Bulldogs (two Victorian teams) from Darwin to Melbourne in one such example, with all money donated to the Victorian Government’s Bushfire Appeal Fund.
More than 35,000 fans turned up for the event which managed to raise more than 1.2 million dollars. The two teams had promised an exciting contest and didn't disappoint, with Essendon winning by the slimmest of margins.
Essendon 1.8.13 (70)
Western Bulldogs 1.8.12 (69)
Preseason competition includes the nine-point "supergoal" for goals scored outside the fifty-metre arc, on top of goals and behinds.
Click here[*1] to donate to the Red Cross' Bush Fire Appeal.