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I Rang 000 and asked for “Fire, Please”

On Monday I received a call from our neigbour on our north-east boundary. It went something like this.
“Hi Ron here, do you have a bushfire on your property? Max (the north neighbour) thinks it is on your place”
“What! Last time I looked it seemed way to the west” I rush outside, and it certainly does look closer since I last looked. It could in fact be on our place!! I reassure Ron that we will check and hung up.

The boys jump on their bikes and I follow a little slower on Carpenter’s bike. We leave the bikes at the creek, cross over and run the rest of the way towards the west boundary. As I approach the west fence the smell of smoke becomes much stronger, ash is occasionally blowing forth and the smoke is quite thick. I ascertain that the bushfire has not yet reached our property, and I head north to check it is not up that way either. At this stage we are fine but I am concerned for our north neighbour. And by now I am a little concerned for my boys who are no where to be seen. But knowing my children well I suspect that they have crossed the fence to see just how close the fire is. They had, they return to tell me that it is the other side of the creek on the neighbours place, at this stage it was only small flames that they saw and “yes mum we didn’t go anywhere near the fire we looked from a pile of rocks.” With all that smoke I assume the main front is behind and these flames have been blown forward.

We head home, Michaelangelo sprints for the house (he is tireless and fast) to tell his siblings, Nature Boy and I puff behind (I puff, NB keeps me company). When we get home I ring 000, I have NEVER rung emergency in my life, this is certainly a novel experience. It wasn’t as nerve racking as I thought. I explained to the dispatcher the situation, it appeared I was the second phone call. I gave him the precise location of the fire as he had a topographic map in front of him. I then hung up, rang back the neighbour and re-assured him that he wasn’t in danger at this stage. Apparently our place was burnt out prior to our purchase and the neighbours all severely threatened, consequently they are all very nervous of fire. I then rang Prince Charming to let him know what was happening. He decided to head home. I really wasn’t worried at this stage. At no time was I concerned for the house we were a couple of miles away and the house has no trees around it and is surrounded by cleared paddocks.

As it turns out PC arrives before the bushfire brigade because they were having trouble accessing the fire. They had been driving around for over an hour trying to get to the fire. When they arrive I assure them there are tracks throughout our property and I send Koala and Nature Boy with them to show them the way. PC and the other two boys are already down there with shovels, sacks and water packs. For the next few hours I was up here not certain of just what was happening. It really did look like the fire was now on our place.

I had a ‘front row’ seat as I watched fire trucks, jeep and tractor rush in and out of my gate but I was still uncertain as to just what was happening. Finally just before dark as one truck came back up the hill it stopped at my gate and deposited my four children. The update was that the fire had not yet arrived at our property, the ‘firies’ had decided that the bush next door was too thick, no home was threatened so they concentrated their efforts at our back neighbours place who was in more danger and PC was waiting at our fence. Oh yeah and the fire truck had got bogged twice on our place. After dark PC came in for tea and was feeling confident that we were fine. Before bed he and Carpenter went back down to check that all was well, they went down in my van which is NOT a paddock vehicle. They got bogged too! They came back out for a winch and had to winch it out.

The final update is that the fire front that threatened us burnt itself out at the creek, but it did head north to our north neighbour and was put out there by the brigade.

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One Comment

  • Therese

    Oh Erin, I don't think I would have been as calm and collected as you sound. I remember when there was a fire next door. Steve came running in and said to me, I think next door is on fire. There was no one home so we rang police. They came and broke into the house and called the fire brigade. Within minutes, there were fire engines, police cars and ambulance on our street. All the neighbours came out to watch. Some even took photos. It was all over in a half a hour though and you wouldn't have even known it had happened.

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