Subject: Bushfires in Australia
Hi everyone For those interested in an update on the fires here in New South Wales, the following site is an excellent summary. Twelve days on, and we still can't see any end in sight. In the past, most states have suffered two or three days of out of control fires, and then a week of mopping up. This time we have fires that completely encircle Sydney, and just keep on burning. The winds are hot dry westerlies, with humidity as low as 5%, which means that the intensity of the fires at times creates a vacuum which allows the fire to progress against the prevailing winds. This has never before been witnessed, and totally defied the laws of bushfires as we understood them.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/0201/04/national/national17.html

I should also take the opportunity to re-introduce myself.

A fifty something Australian male, I have travelled the entire east, north and south coast of Australia over many years. I have twice travelled to Papua New Guinea, three times to the U.S. and Canada (Hawaii, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nappa Valley, all around Arizona from Tombstone to the Grand Canyon, St Louis, Indianapolis, New York, Baltimore, Washington DC, the Yakima Valley in Washington State, Vancouver and Niagra Falls). My wife Cheryl and I spent four weeks touring England, Cornwall and Wales around twelve years ago, and in 2000, spent fourteen weeks touring Italy.

This year, from May 29th to July 16th, we will be returning to Italy. We will spend a week at each of Lake Orta (the best kept secret in Italy), Assisi, Marche, Florence, Lucca and Montalcino, and four days in Rome.

We loved Montalcino when we visited for three hours in 2000. This time we are returning to stay in the village for a week. This was motivated after reading Isabella Dussi's Vanilla Beans and Brodo.

The 200 page journal of our 2000 trip was deleted by about.com, so I am in the process of reconstructing at another site. Any recomendations on sitebuilders?

We hope everone resumes travelling this year, and look forward to all the interesting postings you make.

Cheers Gavin (Sydney, Australia)