The Day of the Fires

An Article


Rose C Taylor


"The day I died and lived to remember "


Bushfires Victoria - Death toll at 130



     It was Sunday morning and all through the night I had been listening to the ABC’s 774 Melbourne news. When I awoke, from eventually getting a few hours sleep, I lay in my bed fully aware of my feelings; I felt dead.

     I would not be amiss in saying that every Victorian, if not Australian, would have felt that life as we knew it had been violated in a shameful and horrific way. Shameful because of the deliberate lighting of fires by arsonists; horrific because of the great number of lost lives and destruction of communities.

     When we are talking of underbellies we at least know who we are dealing with.  When we are talking about arsonists should we know and accept that we are dealing with terrorists?

    I am not a resident of a property in the regions affected by the intensely wild bushfires but I am a deeply concerned citizen who seeks genuine answers to the disasters caused by raging fires that descend upon the residents of Victoria’s bush and regional communities every summer.  On the Saturday night of the fires that were raging throughout Victoria, when I retired to my bedroom, the latest count was 26 dead but by the following Monday 4-30pm they were telling us there were 130 dead and still counting; by 4-39pm it was 131. [1]  *

    I have been a regular radio listener of ABC 774 for more years than I care to remember and must admit that something never seemed quite right when they gave out their bushfire warnings.

     “Leave now but if you stay and defend your home you may not be able to leave at a later time.”   Not being personally involved in defending a bush property I am at loss to understand this constant warning given by the bushfire authorities.

     Should bushfire survival be the responsibility of individual home owners situated in our outer regions?  If the means of survival were to become the decision of whole communities at large could we assume the death toll of this past weekend could have been reduced?

      The fires that raged throughout Victoria’s bush on Saturday more than equaled those that destroyed property and lives as far back as the 1890s. Did we not learn from Ash Wednesday the precautions that needed to be put in place to prevent what was to become the most horrific fire in Victoria’s history?

Saturday’s scorching northerly and the inevitable southerly change meant that these fires would be deadly again. But beyond the immediate tragedy there are lessons that can be learned to save lives in the future; changes made to the way Victoria and perhaps other places deal with these extreme fires.” [2]

     Although the generosity of all Australians, including small business and corporations, has been overwhelming it has been marred by the ‘looting’ that has taken place even while the fires are still raging. However, at the same time residents of too many properties to list have been barred from returning to their homes.  If they were unable to access the highways and roads that led to their residences the question must be asked “how did the looters get access?”

     We as citizens of Australia must be bound by our ethics to ask both Federal and State governments, including those in opposition, to seriously look further than they have been doing over these past few years at all options put to them with regard to the safety of our bush and country communities.

     Summits and enquiries are not the answer; listening to all those with sensible ideas is a must.   Blaming it on Global Warming is not an option that should be considered.  

·                                     ●  Get it right

·                                        ●  Get it fast

·                                                ●  Get it going


Rose C Taylor       

* The official toll as at 2nd March, 2009, was 210 lives lost.



[2] Time to re-evaluate Victoria's fire safety individualism - Lionel Elmore (2009)




 Copyright © 1999  [Rose C Taylor]. All rights reserved Revised: March 10, 2012






















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