I went out to Litchfield, a national park close to the Darwin and one which permits swimming all year round being generally inaccessible to crocodiles and well patrolled by rangers to boot. Being Sunday and all, the place was packed but we found ourselves a spot a bit further out and away from everyone else, staying on until it was dark.
On the way home, we passed by several controlled burn-offs, the largest one being near the turn-off to the Lost City. It’s the season for burn-offs now in the NTG. The bush is still moist enough for it to be safe to burn away the wet season growth. Soon, all the vibrant green (which was even now turning brown) will be blackened stubble.
We got out of the car and walked along the track a little to have a look at the fires. The gentle red glow and the silhouettes made by the pandanas palms made for an eerie sight. It was strangely calming too, as if by a campfire, watching the short flames lick slowly along the undergrowth and listening to the soft crackling.
Of course, I thought about the bush-fire victims in Victoria and the blessedly few times I’ve seen uncontrolled raging fires in Australia (once while driving in a car with flames shooting across the road). 173 dead on the other side of this country.