Just had a lovely conversation with a Red Cross blood bank nurse. No, I can't give blood for another two and a half years until my treatment finishes, but those who can are encouraged to contact the Red Cross after about March 9 to make an appointment. They have good supplies at the moment, and are fully booked (last week they had 2,700 donations more than their usual target), but they will run out in a couple of weeks.
Last night we were with friends in Fitzroy. I looked out the open back door and saw an owl sitting on the fence, looking in at us. I guess it's possible it's a resident of the nearby Edinburgh gardens, but it's also just as likely it's one of the thousands of critters that have lost their homes. My friend's father is very ill, though, on the other side of the country, so we all had a thought for Don. I could see why an owl might be thought to be a harbinger.
One estimate says as many as one million animals might have died; that some species will now have moved higher up the list of endangered species. And one report said the fires produced as much carbon emission as the whole state of Victoria does in a year. And another that we may never know exactly how many people died: the fires were so devastatingly hot that sometimes all that's left is a person's wedding ring. And that a number of people lived in those hills precisely because they didn't want to be identified and known.