“You can’t really notice much of it today,” Ben (71) says on the phone. “The smoke is heading north. It depends on how the wind is blowing, and it is favorable for us now.”
Ben has lived in Australia since the 1970s, but he has not yet lost common sense in the Netherlands. Still somewhat relaxed. “Fires can happen anywhere, whether you live in the south, north or east of the city.”
Cork is dry
The situation was less calm on Monday. Smoke engulfed the house, and the feeling of safety had faded. Ben: Everything is dry here, I fell asleep until very late that night.
They managed to banish the smell of smoke thanks to the air conditioner. “It just refreshes the indoor air,” Curie adds in the background.
Homes are destroyed
In Perth they are currently facing the largest wildfires in years. At least 9,000 hectares have already been burned and the fire brigade has yet to control the fire. More than 70 homes were destroyed and hundreds of Australians evacuated.
Ben and his wife have everything ready to leave right away. “We have gathered the food, the clothes, and the caravan is ready to move away.”
Until the end of this week it’s going to be exciting, Ben says. “When the winds change, who knows what might happen. Fortunately, we don’t live in the middle of the woods, but in a residential area.”
If they had to, they would take the caravan. “Then you still have a roof over your head,” Ben says. They can also count on their children, who also live in Perth.
Corrie moved to Australia when she was a little girl. Don’t worry if they have to flee the fire. “Australia is an open and hospitable country.” She herself will also receive evacuees. Corrie: “If someone knocks on the door, you are welcome. You are helping each other.”
Before the two fell in love, Ben and Corey were correspondent friends. Corrie came to the Netherlands for her 21st birthday. She came back over a year later, and Ben is gone. “I had a good job in the Netherlands, but I didn’t have a home,” Ben says. “It was a crisis at the time.”
This house is now there. Large house with two pools and a swimming pool. Fortunately for the couple, the house is no longer in the government’s red danger zone. It is on the least threatening yellow. Ben: “The wind is not blowing as strongly today as it was yesterday.”
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