Originally posted by guest1013:
About the death toll that argerichfan asked about, I thought I read it is because of the speed of the spread of the fires and also that mandatory evacuations do not occur. Evacuation was voluntary and people have fire plans for staying in their homes. But the intensity and speed overwhelmed the typical fire plan.
That sounds like what I'm hearing, too. Add together a drought that's lasted for years, temperatures above 45C for days (if not weeks), and strong winds, and you get more than the average bushfire.
The recommended strategy has always been (I know this, I've lived in a bushfire-prone area for the last 30 years) to either:  get out early
, or  stay with your house ... IF you are fit, able, know what to do and have adequately prepared the property. I think the sheer ferocity of these fires meant that people who were
adequately prepared were still not able to do anything, and were forced to evacuate too late.
Many people also said the danger approached so quickly that they had no warning. I've been evacuated from the path of a major bushfire, and we had time to get out (no time to grab Things
, mind you, but time to leave and somewhere to go). These people didn't, and in many cases the fire surrounded them.
I think in most average bushfires the strategies I mentioned work. But these were not average bushfires.