Fire Storm

At 4 am this morning when one of our smoke detectors started chirping  I had to remind myself that I should be grateful that it was only a nuisance alarm.

After doing all the research for Burning Lies I watch fire events like the one currently affecting Hobart with a new understanding. The agonising decision to evacuate or to stay and defend must be hard enough to make in the clear light of day let alone when a fiery freight train is bearing down on you and your family.

I find myself in tears watching interviews with people who shrug their shoulders and say ‘we’ll see what’s left in a day or two’ as they shepherd their children and animals into their cars and drive away. How do you make a decision about the small number of things you’re taking with you? How do you walk away from something you may have built brick by brick over many years, not knowing if it will survive?

The Australian climate is unforgiving and nowhere, not even the tropical north, is immune from the devastation of fire. Many of the Australian native trees regenerate through fire. New beginnings of fresh growth always make me smile. In their own way people are just as resilient, but humans are not hard wired for this like a Banksia tree. It takes a huge effort to rebuild after such complete loss.

I have only admiration for those who man the pumps and trucks in the many volunteer fire fighting groups around the country. Without them so much more would be lost, so many more lives torn apart.

Dig deep when the rural firies come knocking on your door for donations or the CFA offers you a raffle ticket. It will make a difference to someone somewhere in this parched land.

And if you’re able bodied and looking for a community service maybe this is something you can spare the time to do. Plenty of women fight fires although at 3% there’s room for more.

Courtesy of the South Australian Country Hour


7 thoughts on “Fire Storm

  1. A very good point, Margaret. I think in more urban areas people believe it can never happen to them. I remember my sister who was living in Canberra at the time of the terrible fires a few years ago saying they had embers raining down on the roof and setting leaves in their gutters alight. She was in an urban area with no expectation the fire would come close enough to do damage. Of course the high winds whipped up by the fire had a mind of their own.

  2. Fire can be terrifying, and we need to remember that the main thing is to escape with our lives, and that of other living things. With this awful heat and subsequent fire hazard, I wonder how many people have actually thought through what they would really do if the worst happened.

  3. Sarah, so glad no one you know has been hurt. The images we’re seeing on TV are horrifying.

    I hope your shipping container has kept everything safe inside along with your book collection.

    Sending more cyber hugs to you and your family.


  4. Helene,
    Clearly your research paid off with every bit of that emotion coming through on the page. It was Burning Lies that I thought of last night when on the phone to my good friend who was fighting spot fires and standing by with his boat to evacuate. I have no words to describe what it must have been like, but I am very thankful that nobody I love has been hurt. In a few days, I will find out how my shipping container and my book collection fared.

  5. Thanks, Sandy. Devastated to hear Sarah Brabazon’s Father-in-law lost his house down in Tasmania… He’s fine but so many memories are gone.

    Brenda, the flip side is the wonderful way in which communities come together to rebuild. Would just be better if it didn’t happen in the first place…

  6. It’s heart-breaking to watch bushfires hit our beautiful country, and devastate the community. Thanks for your post Helene 🙂

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