Thursday, 2 March 2017

A new appreciation of our Rural Fire fighters.

After  seeing all that devastation from the  awful fires that  burnt out huge areas of land and destroyed homes, I had a  heightened  appreciation of our Rural Fire service , but little did I realize at that point that  that appreciation and gratitude would be tenfold before the week was out.
It was late Saturday afternoon  , we had  just sat  ourselves down out on our  the verandah with our neighbor up the road( the  secretary of our local fire volunteer group), when he received  a call to let him know that a fire  on a neighboring property had been  started from a lightning strike   after an electrical storm that had passed over only a short time earlier.
We quickly checked and smoke was visible right behind the hill at the back of our house.. The   men immediately headed off , gathering  other neighbours and equipment .
The smoke increased rapidly  and  we( myself and our son who was staying with us recovering from  surgery) realized  that the situation was deteriorating  extremely quickly.

It was about at this point we started seeing and hearing all the aeroplanes and helicopters  starting to  be buzzing around  and  were starting to see fire truck after fire truck  coming past our place.
We received a Text message  on our phones, advising that we were to  seek shelter as the fire arrives( panic set in !!!)
At this point,   we were  advised to pack some important  and special belongings  and be ready to evacuate at short notice as the fire was heading  directly our way. It is truly  a very difficult  thing to do, deciding what  really is important to you and your family. As I had  a little more time, I started to pack stupid uneccessary things... your mind starts to play tricks. Even the residents of our local town 10 klms away were advised the fire was heading towards them and they may be evacuated.
We heard an almighty roar  , raced outside, just in time to see our neighbours house dumped with a load of pink fire retardant.(  I took this photo later)
We  were the most fortunate people to ever have a big fire,  as all the  air support,  fire trucks, equipment and on ground crews were still in the area from the previous devastating fires and they were directed  straight to us.
All those marvelous people fought  hard and with the combination  of all that air support and ground crews and then  a sudden but  miraculous   wind change,  we were safe. Our men  came by to pass on the message that the immediate danger to our homes  had passed and that the fire had jumped the road and was now   heading in another direction.
Those  wonderful men and women worked all night with graders and bulldozers   and  teams on the ground  and got that  beast  under control and had it contained into a smaller area.
At sunset there was a spectacular  view to the east( the fire was to the west, so the light was spectacular)
Late  that night( around 11 pm or midnight, we called up the road with a message from our neighbors wife(who  was not  home  when all this happened), I was stunned to see at night, how the fires were still burning   in many places and the  volunteers were still guarding  and working on them.
Not a good photo, but were not venturing closer.
Early the next morning,  our men were back on the ground helping the  Rural Fire Service crews to mop up, My next door neighbor Sister in Law and  myself, headed up to the   neighbor up the road  and met up with their daughter who had driven from a few hours away after being notified  of the fires, As we approached the house we were surprised to see that the fire was still active, albeit much smaller and controlled.
Two helicopters were buzzing around with  huge water buckets swinging from them, filling repeatedly from the farm dams.
We  got busy and  made up heaps of sandwiches and food /teas /coffees/cold drinks. ready for all the crews as they came in and were looking for something to eat and drink.
Those helicopters bombed that fire ALL day, they were AMAZING !!!
The fire was finally out. No homes were taken, no out buildings,  and stock losses were  nil or minimal.  Lot's of pasture and fences  were  lost, but that is  minor in comparison to what could have been.
I took a few photos around our neighbors house,( the first one is not mine)
For the following week our men were called out daily , to put out spot fires and  smouldering trees that were spotted as the Rural Fire Service helicopters flew over checking the site.
We took the drone up to take a few photos of the  fire affected area.

After seeing the aerial photos we  truly realized how lucky we were, and can see that the fires really only   were about 600 meters from  our boundary. I am so proud of our men and the neighboring men and women who worked along side all these firefighters.
I just can't speak highly enough  of all the wonderful men and women who give up their time and volunteer to do this  special, dangerous and  caring  job.
I think you are all the most  kind  hearted, amazing, generous people.
Thank you all of you , I owe you so much that can never be repaid.
                                           (Photo courtesy of The Rural Fire Service)


  1. There sure are plenty of good people out there - adversity brings them out in droves.

    1. Hurray for the firefighting crews and the volunteers for their dedication and resilience in such frightening circumstances. Great to see that the Aussie spirit prevails. Heartening that damage and loss was minimal and easily fixable.

    2. They were just so amazing Lillian.!
      We went from being told to be out in a very short space of time with the liklehood of losing everything we owned bar what we had packed in the car to being safe.. we owe them the world.. !!!!

    3. So grateful you and your neighbors and homes are safe. We deal with Forest fires here in utah in the summer and it is scary. I have a list made up of the absolute essentials to grab if I ever have to evacuate my home. As you stated it is hard to think of what to take on the spur of the momment.

    4. It has made me really evaluate what's important.
      I hope I never have to do it again, but if ever, then I will be more organized.

  2. They are indeed heroes.
    So pleased to see their hard work paid off and neither you nor your neighbours lost anything.

    1. All good here thank goodness, but it was a close call. They are such great people. !!

  3. glad you are safe & that nothing was lost during the ordeal, fires are scary enough without being in our backyards
    thanx for sharing

    1. Glad it's over Selina, and now we had a "little" rain, and the temps are much better now, so hopefully the risk is over for another year,