Spring is Blazing–Sydney, Australia

I love spring, so it’s quite lucky that I get to experience two spring seasons in 2013! Thus far in October, we have celebrated Labour Day, set the clocks ahead one hour, and watched spring blooms fill our neighborhood with color…needless to say, my northern hemispheric tendencies feel a bit confused.

Blooms have arrived early as Sydney has recorded its hottest spring on record. As a result of the heat and ongoing drought, 100 bush fires are burning in the areas surrounding the city. We are safe, but last Thursday the winds shifted and sent clouds of smoke over the city (check out the apocalyptic photos), which turned the sun into an eerie red ball amid a dark grey sky. Ash flew through the air in our neighborhood and we were advised to stay indoors with our windows closed. We can still smell the smoke each day and our windowsills are covered in black ash, but for the most part the skies have cleared. Even crazier, several children (ages 8-11) have been arrested for starting a few of the fires. Yesterday was predicted to be the most dangerous day as the temperature rose to 91 degrees, and a 50-60 mph wind fueled many fires.  Luckily, they were able to keep several fires from merging by using aggressive backburning techniques (fighting fire with fire). I’m crossing my fingers for many areas that are still under threat, and my heart goes out to the several communities that have already been destroyed.

In the meantime, here are some happier photos of the results of a hot, early spring.

Spring Flowers, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, 2013