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It was like those silly quizzes where people ask you questions you don’t think you will actually have to answer: “If you house is burning down, what three things would you grab?” That is presuming you are in the house. We, like everyone else didn’t think it would happen to us.
I first read about the Port Hills fire on my news feed on the Tuesday morning. A friend had been biking up in the hills and taken a photo of the large clouds of smoke billowing up. It’s not the first time I’d seen fire on the hills or in the city, so I didn’t think much of it. Shortly afterwards another friend posted videos of the fire. They showed how the fire had spread and made me more concerned. Since I currently live in Auckland, I called my mum to ask her about the fire and she assured me it was on the other side of the hill, quite far from our place.
Periodically I looked at the news to see if anything had changed. There were helicopters with monsoon buckets fighting the fire, so I wasn’t too worried. I remember thinking “we’re not Australia, so I’m sure it will be fine”.
On Wednesday morning I saw news that the fire had spread into the new adventure bike park that had just opened and whose entryway comes off our road. I text mum asking about the fire and whether not she was preparing for evacuation. She hadn’t been told to.
“You are getting ready to evacuate thought right?” I asked. Once again she reassured me it was still far away and she thought it would be fine. She had gone into her office in town to do some work.
I messaged Mum again. No reply. I assumed it meant she was taking action.
I kept my eye on my Facebook feed for updates. Power was cut to a huge amount of the city. A friend living in Cashmere saw a power pylon explode.
I messaged Mum again. No reply...
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