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Australia's a bloody harsh continent to live in. If you live in or near bush you know that the risk of bushfire is always present, and that you need to plan for what to do in the event that a fire is approaching.

But all the conventional planning and preparation seems to have been of no use to the people in many townships in rural Victoria last Saturday. The exceptional combinations of 46-plus degree heat, strong winds, long-standing drought, undergrowth resurgence and, perhaps, arsonists, created some almighty firestorms that struck with a ferocity that permitted little advance warning.

In an era when fire safety and management practices have slashed fatality rates in most bushfires across Australia, the holocaust of February 7 is, in terms of lives lost, the most destructive fire disaster in recorded Australian history. By a factor, probably, of three or four.

Here are some links. There is a saturation of media coverage, some better than others. I have decided to focus on the ABC coverage.

More links:

I have made a donation to the Australian Red Cross.

(This item was updated on Feb.14 to add links)