Living with fire and smoke on the horizon

Iv’e been staying at Glenella Guesthouse, Blackheath in the Blue Mountains for about the past 6 weeks as you have seen in previous posts.

The affect the fires have had on the community and businesses has been rather bad, the main problem is the smoke and fear of the unknown.

Here at Blackheath most days we have blue skies with fires north and south of us completely blanketing Sydney in smoke. The reports are correct the Blue Mountains are on fire but the Blue Mountains is a very large place not just a few tourist spots around Katoomba and Blackheath that people know.

People are been advised not to visit the Blue Mountains and most businesses are struggling because of it.

Glenella Guesthouse where I am staying is almost empty and has been for the past month, People keep canceling because of false media reports saying that it’s almost in the Main Streets.

Signs posted on central train stations saying stay away from the Blue Mountains is killing business for all the locals.

The national parks have closed most lookouts around Blackheath this week and have closed major hiking into the valleys for the past month.

This has affected me as I can’t complete my mapping for the 5day Penrith to Blackheath maps so I’ll have to do them when I comeback in a few months or hand them over to someone else.

Also most national parks are closed to camping so I’m having to change my plans of where I go and what I will do over Christmas and into January.

I’m not having a whinge I’m just saying how its affected me personally as my friends asked me this question.

Two days ago I walked up one of the lookouts just outside the national park, I was confronted with a huge wall of smoke 15km away.


Hopefully my instagram link will work and you can see the water bombers at work.

A few hrs later I went back to hat hill lookout at dusk to see that the fire had advanced and now to see flames was rather scary.


This week the fire has gotten a little closer as they are doing back burning to try and stop the main fire that could flare up again as they are predicting hot dry days of 37 – 45deg and high winds. Tomorrow and the next 4 days is the one to look out for and may be damaging.

Screen Shot 2019-12-18 at 11.01.28

As you can see a large portion on the mountains is on fire, I’m located at the little red dot in the centre of the screen.

Screen Shot 2019-12-18 at 11.02.47

Close up of where I’m staying, as you can see the fires are much larger and not really that far away.

Today the conditions are favourable as its much cooler and lack of wind is helping the Rural Fire Service RFS protect us.

The winds are blowing lightly in our direction, so today for only the forth time this month we are covered in smoke, not like Sydney who have had it for the past 6 weeks.

Glenella is in the middle of town and a few kilometres away from heavy bush and I’m sure it will remain standing for another 100yrs or so. As they have had fire much closer in the past years.

I have finished all my tasks at Glenella and will be moving on to a friends house at the base of the mountains this afternoon to relax do a little Christmas shopping and more animal paintings before I head up to my sisters for Christmas.

So in the new year when the fires are over please consider coming back up to the Top of the Mountains where businesses have had it tough and missed out on all the Christmas trading because of the fires and smoke.

Please support my friends at Glenella Guesthouse in Blackheath if you need a mini holiday or escape from Sydney. If you’re into walking maybe do the 5 day walk from Penrith to Blackheath next March or October.


3 thoughts on “Living with fire and smoke on the horizon

  1. I’m sure people will come back Chris, but it doesn’t help the small business over the Christmas period, it’s a sad time all round. People do get scared of the uncertainties, it’s hard to go away as planned when you are not sure what you are heading into, but also is it safe to leave your home will it be there when you go back.
    Every night watching the news is just heartbreaking the fire fighters are heroes most volunteers just everyday men and women, such admiration for them.
    The Blue Mountains is an amazing place, with wonderful people, Glenella holds a special place in my heart, Margaret and Roman will come through this, they are fighters, thinking of you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Chris! This gave me a better idea of what is really going on there. Dropping water on a fire that big is like pouring a small glass of water in a roaring campfire in hope of putting it out.
    Thoughts for it ending soon and some return to normal.


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